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.

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There is considerable debate over whether we as a society have an accurate picture of the prevalence and severity of teen dating violence by gender.

It is important to note that although male and female adolescents do not differ in "overall frequency of violence in dating relationships," females are subject to "significantly higher levels of severe violence".

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.

We have published a part of her story to give her a voice so that others may draw courage from her experience. Lives are changed forever, and I’ve left many with only memories.

"It’s not easy for me to admit to anyone that I was making a mistake. Well, months had gone by and I was still scared, but I believed...again.

"Heather had dated her boyfriend off and on for two years, and all along she thought she could change him.

Don't make the mistake of trying to take on that task yourself. The Voice of Heather At the young age of 20, Heather Norris' life was tragically cut short as the result of dating violence.

This is also an important topic from a gender studies perspective as almost 32% of male adolescents engage in some form of violence, whether sexual, physical or emotional, towards their partners while adolescent violence from females is nearly half of that rate.