SAVE Sends Letter to VP Biden Regarding his Upcoming Appearance on The View

RE: Growing Problem of Violence Perpetrated by Female Teenagers and Young Adults

September 26, 2011

Honorable Joseph R. Biden
c/o Lynn Rosenthal

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Vice President Biden:

Thank you for your many efforts over the years to promote awareness of the problem of domestic violence, and your pioneering efforts that led to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. Thank you, also, for your recent September 14 statement highlighting the “high rates of violence and assault that continues to threaten young men and women across the country.”

In anticipation of your upcoming appearance on The View to discuss dating violence affecting teens and young adults, we would like to bring to your attention a disturbing trend – the growing problem of female-perpetrated violence among teenagers and young adults.

According to a 2010 Department of Justice report, Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Court, 2007, “Juvenile courts handled 448,900 cases involving females in 2007, more than twice the 1985 number.” And for assaults and other offenses against persons, the female offender rate soared by 233% over the same period.

It has reached the point that among dating partners, U.S. Centers for Disease Control surveys have repeatedly documented that females are more likely than males to be the initiators of partner violence:

• According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, 10% of teenage boys were victimized by dating violence in the past year, compared to only 9% of teenage girls experiencing dating violence (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss5905.pdf  — Table 12)
• According to a national survey of young adults ages 18-25, in cases of one-way violence, females were the aggressors in 71% of the cases, and males the initiators 29% of the time. (Whitaker DJ et al. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 97, No. 5, 2007)

In regard to sexual assault, female perpetration rates are beginning to equal and even surpass assaults by men. A recent survey of 6th and 7th graders in Cleveland concluded, “boys were more likely to be victims of sexual violence than girls.” (Taylor BG et al. Journal of Experimental Criminology, Vol. 6, 2010).

Relationship expert Dr. Jill Murray explains the problem this way:

Now, here’s the really depressing news: female-to-male PHYSICAL abuse has gone up at least threefold in many areas of the country in the last year!…Men don’t report when they have been violated. … They live with the same secretiveness and shame that abused girls and women speak of. (http://www.drjillmurray.com/jill/resources/article_girls_who_abuse_boys.html )

Female aggression against intimate partners can have lethal consequences. In recent months, there have been at least two cases in which teenage girls have fatally wounded their male or female dating partners: http://www.saveservices.org/2011/09/teenage-female-violence-on-the-rise/

The problem of female-initiated partner violence is also worrisome because female aggression has been shown to be the leading reason for the woman becoming a victim of subsequent violence. (Stith S et al. Aggression and Violent Behavior Vol. 10, 2004. pp. 65-98.)

In the spirit of carrying on your courageous efforts to bring domestic violence out of the shadows, we call on you to emphasize these three critical messages in your appearance on The View:

1. Among teenagers and young adults, females are now more likely than males to be the aggressors of physical violence.
2. Female abusers need treatment and help, not a cold shoulder.
3. The problem of domestic violence against men remains hidden. Male victims need to be encouraged to report when they are victimized.

We look forward to working with you and your staff to bring an end to the scourge of domestic violence.

Sincerely,

Philip W. Cook
Director

Cc: Valerie Jarrett, White House Council on Women and Girls: vjarrett@who.eop.gov