Courtship violence: a study of the reasons for continuing the relationship

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This paper presents a survey of 422 college students at Virginia Polytechnic & State University on courtship violence. Those who experienced courtship violence were not different from those who had not experienced courtship violence in a list of background and experiential variables. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents were found to have experienced some form of abuse in their dating relationships in the past year. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents claimed they had experienced both abuse and violence in their dating relationships in the past year, and 1.7% of the respondents experienced the most extreme form of violence.

Thirty-two percent of those who had experienced courtship violence would seek outside help when experiencing violence in their dating relationships. These individuals were those who got used to bringing somebody in to help settle conflicts, who felt humiliated after the violence, and who took no immediate action to reconcile after violence.

Among those who did experience some form of courtship violence, 76.8% planned to continue the relationship. If courtship violence occurred in private and remained unnoticed to those individuals who love their partners more, who invest a lot in the relationships, who have higher commitment, who have more conflicts in their relationships, and who take initiative to reconcile the relationships after the violent episodes, the individual involved would be more likely to continue the relationship, despite the presence of violence.