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Dating violence does not discriminate against any teen no matter religion, gender, sexual

orientation, socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, or culture. An abusive relationship involves a

pattern of coercive, manipulative behavior that one partner exerts over the other for the purpose

of establishing and maintaining power and control (Break the Cycle). To maintain power and

control the perpetrator may inflict aggressive behavior which can include verbal, emotional,

physical, isolation or sexual abuse. Some of the actions the perpetrator inflicts on the victim is

hitting, kicking, insulting, humiliating, intimidating, restricting access to birth control or stalking

on social media. This makes it dangerous for teens because they may believe these actions are

caring but it can be the perpetrators way of keeping the victim isolated.

Although there is not an exact characteristic of how these victims ought to be in order to

become affected by dating violence, but there are risk factors that can cause someone to be in an

abusive relationship. For both male and females, low self-esteem is often a characteristic of

adolescents involved in dating violence. Males who have low self-esteem are more likely to

initiate dating violence while females with low self-esteem are more likely to become victims

(Powers and Kerman). Low self-esteem can cause victims to stay in the abusive relationship

because they believe they're not good enough for love from someone else . It is important to

teach adolescents about self love before teens get into relationships because lack of self- love

makes them more vulnerable to the abuser. Teens upbringing can also be a risk factor that can

lead to dating violence. Studies show that adolescents who experienced greater family

instability, maltreatment, or social disadvantage tend to date at a younger age and experience

dating violence at higher than average rates (Powers and Kerman). Not having a stable
childhood or experiencing violence at home can affect how teens view relationships. Teens can

be influenced by believing relationships are about power and control. However if you have low

self-esteem or family instability it does not mean you will be in a abusive relationship but it does

put them at higher risk of being in an abusive relationship.

The way teens have been taught due to societal norms may affect teens behavior when it

comes to dating violence. Gender roles and dating relationships play a considerable role in the

process of determining behavior patterns among the teenagers (Love Does Not Hurt). Since

birth, society has taught males to be masculine, strong, aggressive, controlling and never show

emotion. Females have been taught to be feminine, pretty, submissive, passive and shy the film

The Mask You live In has stated. These norms have impacted the roles of dating violence making

males more likely to be the abuser and females more likely to be the victim (Newsom).

Eliminating gender roles and teaching adolescence that they need not be masculine or feminine

can help stop roles in dating violence.

Mainstream media can be a great way to spread information but it can also send the

wrong message to adolescents. Mainstream media does not help when there is a lot of pressure

exerted on teens by their peers to look and act in a certain way(Religion and Violence

Elearning). The film The Mask You Live In showed how males see the media portraying females

in a disrespectful and degrading manner which influence their actions towards women. They see

how women are being treated which influences males to think it's acceptable to control their

girlfriends. Seeing that mainstream media is something teens are exposed to, it should stop

showing sexism, violence, and portraying women in a disrespectful manner.