The public watched in horror as a spate of recent videos showed teenage girls attacking people in fast food restaurants – pulling hair, kicking, punching, and stomping their victims while spewing vile epithets at bystanders who tried to interfere. What we haven’t seen so openly is the growing epidemic of one-on-one violence that girls are perpetrating in dating relationships.
According to Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), “Surveys now show high school girls are more likely than boys to engage in physical violence with their dating partners.” SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook says, “Teenage girls are as likely as boys to slap, hit, and kick their partners. Violence by anyone only increases the risk of being injured in return. We need a consistent message about dating violence that is based on factual information and … rooted in reality.”
The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) “2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey” spells out that reality by noting that males are now more at risk than females; the latest data show that 10 percent of teenage males report dating violence, as compared with nine percent of teenage females. The situation is even worse among young adults. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health reveals that in 71 percent of the cases of one-way violence, females were the aggressors, while males were the initiators only 29 percent of the time.
SAVE also reveals that a 2010 Department of Justice report, “Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Court, 2007,” indicates, “Juvenile courts handled 448,900 cases involving females in 2007, more than twice the 1985 number.” SAVE adds that “for assaults and other offenses against persons, the female offender rate soared by 233 percent over the same period.” In addition to physical violence, female assaults include sexual violence. A Cleveland survey of 6th and 7th graders concludes, “Boys were more likely to be victims of sexual violence than girls.”
Sadly, female aggression, like male aggression, can have lethal consequences. SAVE reports at least two recent cases in which teenage girls have fatally wounded their dating partners. Further, the girls who perpetrate violence are far more likely to later become a victim of subsequence violence.
This relatively new incidence of women following bad cultural behavior is yet another way we are reaping the whirlwind of family breakdown. Those who declare that family structure doesn’t matter need to see these cases as the human toll, writ large from the social science data describing very predictable outcomes for children at risk when there is no stable mom-and-dad family providing the home environment, where children absorb morals and values that are essential to becoming productive citizens, rather than juvenile delinquents.