Finnish boys aged 15 to 16 are more likely to experience violence from their dating partners than girls of the same age. The matter comes out in a study by the National Research Institute on Legal Policy.The danger in using this survey to declare Finnish girls more abusive than Finnish boys in dating relationships is that girls who have been grabbed or prevented from moving may hit or kick that boy in self defensive. Grabbing someone and preventing them from moving could also be done in self defense, but the rates for this type of abuse are higher than what is listed as the most serious types of violence.
An extensive survey on youth crime shows that 22 per cent of boys in a dating relationship had been hit at least once by their girlfriends. Only six per cent of girls had experienced similar events.
The most serious types of violence is striking someone with a fist or a hard object, or kicking. Nine per cent of boys and two per cent of girls had experienced such attacks.
Being grabbed, or prevented from moving was the only type of violence that girls experienced more often than boys. The figures were 19 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
If up to 19 percent of boys are using grabbing and/or preventing a girl from moving as a way to control girls then some of the 9 percent of boys who have been struck with a fist or hard object or kicked must be restraining a girl when this happens. The question is what percentage.
The researcher may be right about how primary prevention messages directed at boys may allow girls to view violence against boys as acceptable or she may only be partly right. The problem with trying to quantify genuine acts of self defense is that those who are not acting in genuine self defense may rationalize their abusive actions as acts of self defense.
Gaining more insight into offensive vs. defensive violence is more than a gender spitting match. It will help those teaching teens about violence to understand the actual dynamics of the numbers being reported.