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The new CDC survey adds to its prior research into the prevalence of dating violence, but the latest version asked updated questions that include sexual violence and more accurately portray violent behaviors, the study authors say.Most of the teens surveyed reported experiencing such violence more than one time.The results, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, showed that about 7% of teen girls reported experiencing physical violence, 8% said they experienced sexual violence and 6% experienced both.
Getting hurt was the furthest thing from Sarah’s mind when she met Joe at a back-to-school dance in September 2004, the start of her sophomore year. “I was crazy about him and about being in a new fun relationship,” she says. Joe, knowing Sarah left before dawn for crew practice—she eventually became team captain—began sending her text messages at 4 a.m.Quickly, though, sweet talk gave way to insults and demands and, finally, physical abuse. 12, 2005, kicking incident, Sarah, a willowy strawberry blonde with a spray of freckles across her cheeks, stood in line at the family division of the Santa Clara County, Calif., court clerk’s office, waiting to pick up a copy of a restraining order.“I never would have thought,” Sarah says now, “something like this would happen to me.” Once a hidden problem, teen dating violence is getting some serious attention.The findings also showed that those who experienced some form of dating violence also had a higher prevalence of other health risks like drinking alcohol, using drugs or thinking about suicide.Future research should look at the frequency of violence in teen dating relationships and how that may harm teens’ health, the researchers conclude.
“I woke up and he was hovering over me,” Sarah, now 18, recalls.