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This fact begs the question of whether abuse should be evaluated based on “severity” and how that can and should be measured, or if all abuse should be considered equally harmful.

The literature on IPV among adolescents indicates that the rates are similar for the number of girls and boys in heterosexual relationships who report experiencing IPV, or that girls in heterosexual relationships are more likely than their male counterparts to report perpetrating IPV. stated that, unlike domestic violence in general, equal rates of IPV perpetration is a unique characteristic with regard adolescent dating violence, and that this is "perhaps because the period of adolescence, a special developmental state, is accompanied by sexual characteristics that are distinctly different from the characteristics of adult." Wekerle and Wolfe theorized that "a mutually coercive and violent dynamic may form during adolescence, a time when males and females are more equal on a physical level" and that this "physical equality allows girls to assert more power through physical violence than is possible for an adult female attacked by a fully physically mature man." Regarding studies that indicate that girls are as likely or more likely than boys to commit IPV, the authors emphasize that substantial differences exist between the genders, including that girls are significantly more likely than boys to report having experienced severe IPV, such as being threatened with a weapon, punched, strangled, beaten, burned, or raped, and are also substantially more likely than boys to need psychological help or experience physical injuries that require medical help for the abuse, and to report sexual violence as a part of dating violence.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline and Liz Claiborne Inc.

announced Thursday the launch of the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (NTDAH), a 24-hour national web-based and telephone helpline created to help teens (ages 13-18) experiencing dating abuse during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

The subjects were asked questions about violence in their adolescent relationships, as either victim or perpetrator, and their childhood surrounding twelve different adversities: parental death, parental divorce, long-term separation from parent, parental mental illness, parental substance abuse disorder, parental criminality, inter-parental violence, serious physical illness in childhood, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and family economic adversity.

The results demonstrated a strong positive correlation between ten out of the twelve childhood adversities and physically violent behavior in a teen relationship, with 13.8% responding with experiences of sexual violence, and 11.6% experiencing inter-parental violence.

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