Teen Dating Violence Prevention Based on an Education for Intercultural and Critical Citizenship

Teen Dating Violence Prevention Based on an Education for Intercultural and Critical Citizenship

Encarnación Soriano Ayala (University of Almería, Spain), Verónica C. Cala (University of Almería, Spain), and Rachida Dalouh (University of Almería, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7283-2.ch010
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Teen dating violence (TDV) is one of the problems that, both for its severity as for its prevalence, requires a greater educational effort aimed at its primary prevention on all the young people that make up our societies. However, both social studies and preventive strategies and public policies maintain a monocultural and homogenizing relational approach, which makes invisible the relationships that exist between non-European and non-heterosexual people. This chapter proposes an approach to dating violence based on a critical and intercultural citizenship education, which addresses existing biases. This approach aims, on the one hand, to understand relational diversity in democratic societies and, in turn, orient its action around three axes: socio-emotional education, education in values, and virtual education.
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Teen dating violence (TDV) is one of the socio-sanitary problems that has become more relevant in recent years. In the mid-90s the World Health Organization considered it a priority for public health due to the enormous increase in it, being one of the main causes of death of the young population (Children's Safety Network, 2012) and with enormous psycho-emotional, health, educational and developmental consequences for adolescents (Cornelius & Resseguie, 2007; Lavoie et al., 2000). Since then, citizen movements, public policies and social studies have been contributing to greater visibility and social awareness in the face of violence. However, as we will see in the following lines, there are still limitations and obstacles in the in-depth knowledge of the phenomenon of adolescent partner violence (ADV) and in the development of strategies to achieve its prevention and eradication.

Scientific-social research on TDV began in the early 80s (Makepeace, 1981), when adolescence was identified as a relevant and different phase from adult life in relation to violence. Based on research, TDV is defined as any sexual, physical or psychological damage that occurs in a relationship among young people or adolescents (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012; Children's Safety Network, 2012; Rey-Anacona, 2009). They are, therefore, relationships that undermine the well-being, health or integrity of the couple and that uses control or dominance mechanisms on the couple through coactive or coercive tactics (Rubio-Garay et al., 2015). Studies also show that the way in which this violence is expressed tends to maintain a pattern of reciprocal aggression among adolescents, with forms of “mutual combat” between couples (Archer, 2006), that is, with similar rates of perpetration and similar victimization in men and women (O'Leary et al., 2008; Straus & Ramirez, 2007). However, this reciprocity in the exercise of gender violence (Viejo, 2014) does not seem to be alien to gender patterns and structures, which have shown importance in their manifestations, motivations and development (Avery-Leef et al., 1997).

The prevalence of the phenomenon is a controversial aspect due to the marked variability in the figures offered by studies. These differences may be influenced by aspects such as the definition of TDV itself, methodological and instrumental differences, the moral dimension of the phenomenon, and the variability of the socio-cultural context in different contexts (Pazos et al., 2014). What there is some consensus is on is the frequency with which the subtypes of violence appear. Research carried out in the Spanish context coincides in establishing a clear predominance of verbal-emotional violence, which is appreciated according to studies in around 40-90% of the young population (Fernández-Fuertes et al., 2011; Muñoz -Bandera & Benítez 2017; Fernández-Fuertes & Fuertes, 2010; Sebastián et al.,2014), followed by psychological violence, which ranges between 14-92% (Calvete, 2016; Yago-Simón & Tomás 2015; Muñoz-Rivas et al., 2010), in third place, sexual violence, which ranges from 2-60% and finally physical violence, with figures between 1.5-46% (Pichiule-Castañeda et al., 2014; Muñoz-Bandera & Benítez 2017; Muñiz-Rivas et al., 2019; Viejo et al., 2016; López-Cepero et al., 2015), and relational violence (Muñoz-Bandera & Benítez, 2017), of 1-18%. Another subtype of violence on the rise is cyber violence, which is increasing the numbers rapidly and worryingly.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Bias: Bias refers to the way our past experiences distort our perception and reaction to information unfairly. People can develop biases towards or against an individual, an ethnic group, a sexual or gender identity, a nation, a religion, a social class, a political party, paradigms and theoretical ideologies within academic domains or species. This is why some people use the word “bias” as a synonym for prejudice.

Teen Dating Violence (TDV): It is the physical, sexual, and psycho-emotional violence that occurs within dating relationships during adolescence. These are relationships that threaten the well-being, health, or integrity of the couple.

Social Skills: They are the set of behavioural strategies and capacities to apply the said behaviours that help us to solve a social situation effectively, that is, acceptable to the subject itself and to the social context in which it is. This shows that the development of social skills has a significant influence to reduce risk behaviours.

Education for Citizenship: It is a curricular subject in compulsory education or transversal content that develops topics such as democratic institutions, the Constitution, and the rights and duties of citizens, as well as the family, love, and sexuality.

Adolescence: It is considered the transition period from childhood to adulthood. It is a delimited stage not only biologically, but socially, historically, and culturally.

Interculturality: The word interculturality refers to the egalitarian exchange and communication relations between cultural groups that differ according to criteria such as ethnicity, religion, language, or nationality, among others.

Critical Citizenship: It is about developing a critique of what exists, but also proposing changes and improvements. Thus, it appeals to commitment and conscious and collective involvement as a hope in the possibilities of change.

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