Institutionalized help: Teen dating violence victims' relationships with family, the law, and medical care
Fitzpatrick, Jessica Maureen
MetadataShow full item record
Teen dating violence is prevalent and has short- and long-term consequences. This study uses a life course perspective to explore victims' interactions with parents, the law, and medical care through 50 in-depth retrospective interviews and vignettes. Chapter 1 focuses on sexual abuse in teen dating relationships asking how is sexual violence constructed and how does this impact seeking help? Life course impacts sexual violence during adolescence when teens are beginning to experience dating relationships and expectations. What is learned during adolescence is carried into adulthood and the current sexual scripts, including the "real rape" script does not reflect lived experiences of teens that are in dating relationships and experiencing several types of violence. The findings demonstrate that young women have a broad definition of sexual violence and a range of experiences and rarely seek help. Chapter 2 examines the question how do parents respond to teen dating violence and does this influence teen victims behaviors? Parents, who monitor teen dating activities are part of teens' informal social networks. Informal social networks have been shown to influence adult domestic violence victims' responses to the abuse. I found that young women's parents are often unaware of abuse until after the relationship ends. Boyfriend's parents respond to abusive incidents in one of three ways, which appears to influence the length of the dating relationship. The type of abuse does not influence parental response. Chapter 3 explores legal agency of teen victims and how the life course influences legal mobilization, I ask do teen girls that have experienced dating violence think about or rely on law for assistance? Teen victims' legal agency has been ignored despite higher rates of victimization than adults. Due to age, teens' legal status is ambiguous. I found the steps in legal mobilization: naming, blaming, and claiming, are influenced by the life course and teens' developmental tasks of becoming autonomous and identity formation. Determining whether or not to rely on law is not a linear process and is not automatic when an incident has been determined to be illegal.