The term courtship violence refers to a couple's interaction with emotional commitment with or without sexual intimacy. Dating violence involves the perpetration or threat of an act of physical violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other within the context of the dating process (Barnett, Miller-Perrin, Perrin 163). The study of dating violence is important for two reasons. First, such behavior often results in physical and emotional injury. Second, there is reason to believe that dating violence is often a precursor to spousal abuse. Many battered women report that they were first assaulted by their husbands during courtship (Simons 467). Women, more than men, appear to bear the brunt of courtship violence. Despite the fact that rates of partner abuse by males and females are similar, women report more injuries and a greater negative impact as a result of their male partners' physical aggression (Ronfeldt 72). Studies consistently show that it is women who are disproportionately likely to sustain serious injury. Some significant negative consequences are emotional harm, feelings of victimization, and fear of further violence (Barnett, Miller-Perrin, Perrin 164). The most popular explanation for dating violence is that it is a learned behavior acquired in the family origin. Witnessing parents' marital aggression or being the victim of harsh corporal punishment may greatly increase the chances that a child will grow up to use violence in a dating relationship (Simons 468). There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that violence in the family is a risk factor for the perpetration of partner abuse. Men who witnessed interparental violence were three times more likely to hit their wives than men who did not (Ronfeldt 72). Men who witnessed their fathers hitting their mothers were more likely to approve of violence against women and to abuse their own partner. Those growing up in a...
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