Recent statistics indicate that dating violence has increasingly become a problem in the United States. Dating violence can be defined as, “consisting of verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse of one person by another in a dating relationship” . Additionally, 40% of adolescent girls ages 14-17 know someone their age who has been physically abused by a dating partner, and 33% of adolescent girls report experiencing physical violence themselves from a dating partner (Figure 1) .
One form of dating violence, that has increasingly become a problem, is drug facilitated sexual assault. In Utah, drug-induced rape has increased among adolescents. A Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice study conducted in 2005 found that 1.8% of Utah women reported being a victim of a drug facilitated sexual assault . In the United States, drug facilitated rapes are responsible for 70% of sexual assaults reported among adolescent and college aged women, and 38% of those women are between the ages of 14 and 17 (Figure 2) . Many drug facilitated sexual assault perpetrators used drugs such as alcohol, gamahydroxybutyrate (GHB), rohypnol, and ketamine to weaken or incapacitate their victims .
The Physical and Psychological Consequences of Dating Violence
The psychological and physical consequences of dating violence can be extremely damaging and potentially life threatening to its victims. Victims of dating violence may have physical injuries such as lacerations, broken bones, bruises and internal bleeding. Various other physical ailments may include gastrointestinal problems, gynecological issues, headaches, central nervous system disorders, and circulatory or heart problems . Adolescents who are subject to dating violence often experience serve psychological consequences such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, low self-esteem, severe fear of intimacy, and an inability to trust men . Additionally, victims of dating abuse are more likely to have substance abuse problems, eating disorders, poor academic achievement, engage in risky sexual behaviors, and attempt, or complete suicide. Dating violence may often be the precursor to domestic violence, and adolescents in abusive relationships often transfer abusive behavior into future relationships .
If you suspect dating violence, contact the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
- Utah Code/Constitution. Available online at http://www.livepublish.le.state.ut.us/lpBin22/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-j.htm&2.0. Accessed October 15, 2006.
- The National Center for Victims of Crime: Dating Violence Factsheet. Available online at http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/AGP.Net/Components/documentViewer/Download.aspxnz?DocumentID=38057. Accessed October 11, 2006.
- Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Rape in Utah. Available online at http://www.justice.utah.gov/Research/SexOffender/RapeInUtah.pdf. Accessed October 13, 2006.
- Utah Department of Health. Violence & Injury Prevention Program: Sexual Assault. Available online at http://health.utah.gov/vipp/rapeSexualAssault/overview.html. Accessed October 14, 2006.
- National Center for PTSD: Factsheet. Available online at http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/facts/specific/fs_domestic_violence.html#Anchor-Harway-46919. Accessed October 16, 2006.
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Intimate Partner Violence: Fact sheet. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/ipvfacts.htm. Accessed September 16, 2006.
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Dating Abuse: Factsheet. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/DatingViolence.htm. Accessed October 11, 2006.