Girls Commit Dating Violence As Often As Boys

Unfortunately, Emma Roberts is no anomaly: Two recent studies on youth dating violence find that girls commit dating violence as often as boys.

Researchers who presented their findings Wednesday at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting found that 43 percent of girls, compared to 28 percent of boys, report having committed an act of dating violence.

The 15 percent gap sounds unlikely given gender stereotypes, but when you consider that researchers looked at a range of behaviors from psychological to emotional ( i.e. name calling, expressing anger, spreading rumors, and using controlling behavior) to physical violence (slapping, hitting, biting, and sexual violence), the study might make a little more sense. (Also, shouldn't a study on dating violence define "expressing anger" a bit more explicitly?)

“We see in other research that the psychological stuff has just as much of a negative impact on health outcomes as the physical and sexual [violence]," researcher Carlos Cuevas said.

The stat that may blow your mind, however, regards sexual violence. Twenty-three percent of boys — versus 18 percent of girls — reported perpetrating at least one act of sexual violence. Those numbers are high, and the difference of only five percent is surprising.

Clearly, we've got an epidemic here. About a third of American youths say they have been victims of dating violence, and nearly the same number said they have committed it.