What is the difference in dating violence for
boys and girls?
One study showed that a little over one-third of both girls and
boys said they had been physically abused by a dating partner, but
the experience was much worse for girls than boys. Girls experienced
the more severe forms of violence and the boys experienced less
severe forms. For example, girls "are much more likely to be punched
and forced to engage in sexual activity against their will" (rape).
Boys are more likely "to be pinched, slapped, scratched, and
kicked" (Molidor: 2000). Boys also said that when they did experience
physical violence they usually did not get hurt. However, almost
50% of the girls said the violence was severe, that their dating
partner "hurt me a lot" and "caused bruises", and/or they "needed
medical attention" because of their injuries.
Because girls often fight back, it is likely that many of the physically violence experiences the boys report are due to girls defending themselves against their boyfriends abusing them or forcing them to have sex. Also, girls said that it was the boys who most often started the physical violence (70% of abusive acts) while boys said the girls started the abuse less than one third of the time (27%).
For more information see Dating Violence and Your Teen.
Diane G. Kuschel, Former Extension Associate, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension
Last update: Thursday, February 21, 2013