Similar to Adult Domestic Violence (ADV), females consistently and disproportionately represent survivors, with young women between the ages of 16-24, THREE TIMES more likely to encounter abuse.
In fact, young women, between the ages of 16-20, have consistently experienced the highest rates of relationship violence, even when compared to adult women with acts classified as "severe dating violence" excessively affecting young women.
Of note however, while research has indicated that females "are as likely to be a perpetrator as a victim of violence" according to the APA, there's not enough data to clarify or confirm this statistic.
Most alarming regarding this data, is that these figures are likely a bit lower than projected as only about a third of teens will tell someone about the abuse he/she is experiencing; only 6% of victims will tell a family member.
Data discloses that sex is "considered part of tween dating relationships" with nearly half of 11-14 year olds having been in a dating relationship, "an alarmingly earlier age than anticipated by parents" according to Love is (2014).
Interestingly, 75% of victims will tell a friend or peer.
Some of these transformations via NIH are tangible and apparent such as body hair growth, menstruation for girls and change in voice and penis size for boys, while other milestones such as the change in hormones, the development of identity and independence, the thoughts and feelings regarding these changes, sexuality, as well other internalized and externalized behaviors can be complex and fall into the cognitive and social development realm which is not always as easily identified and explained.
Fortunately, research findings from the last decade regarding teen brain structure and functioning have provided greater insight regarding the sometimes impulsive and risk taking behavior of teens.
Moreover, as TDV far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence, resolving these uncertainties, as well as identifying the short and long term impact(s) of TDV is becoming more dire.
In a 2011 study, supported in part by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, one of the findings affirmed that "some confusion remains regarding the definition and epidemiology of TDV." When examining the definitions of TDV provided by the foremost sources of data regarding health, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TDV is defined "as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking.