It is often difficult to part with that behavior as a child grows older.
“When the little girl grows up and she’s in her teen years and finds a partner, she will seek to match her skills with those of a person who has adopted to the counterpart skills (of abuse).
There are many reasons why, but teen dating violence is often different from violence in adult relationships.
Young men often mimic behavior of abuse learned from father figures while young women, she said, typically lash out physically or verbally in response to abusive behavior by their male partner.
The digital world, namely smartphones and social media, has changed the face of abuse.
“But the one emotion that determines and, for me, defines if there’s abuse or not is if one of them is afraid of the other.” Cases of domestic and dating violence often go unreported, but most that are reported are collected from the National Teen Dating Violence hotline.
Texas ranks number two in the nation for call volume to the hotline and San Antonio ranks number four in the state behind Houston, Dallas, and Austin.
That’s why in general terms that victim potentially will seek an abuser, at the unconscious level of course,” Pelaéz said.
“That’s where they find a certain level of comfort because that’s their normal, that’s what they grew up knowing.” Pelaéz has witnessed this truth firsthand with the hundreds of women she and her staff serve at the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, a facility run by Family Violence Prevention Services, that offers free residential services, therapy, legal and medical assistance, childcare and a suite of other resources to women and children who have recently left abusive environments.
Another 2016 study by the American Educational Research Association shows that 10-25% of both male and female students in grades nine through 12 experience both physical and verbal abuse from a dating partner.
Such statistics are surprising – especially in teenage populations – but they shed light on a complex issue that spans all socio-economic groups and cultures.
Bexar County is the second highest Texas county, after Harris County which includes Houston, for reported cases of adult domestic violence, according to another TCVF report.