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Teen Dating Violence

Alejandra Garcia

The University of Texas at El Paso

Ms. Siduoane Patcha Lum

RWS 1302: Rhetoric and Composition 2

Teen Dating Violence

The topic of teen dating violence is a very serious issue that has affected many

adolescents. It is important for guardians to address this matter to the young adult community, so

that these adolescents can engage in healthy relationships in the future. The two genres that have

addressed this issue is a website called “Don’t Let Yourself” and a short video called “Teen

Dating Violence,” which are both sponsored by the same authors: El Paso County Attorney, Jo

Anne Bernal and District Attorney, Jaime Esparza. They are the leaders and founders of this

Domestic/Dating Violence Initiative. Dating violence in teenagers is an issue with little exposure

in our society. With genre analysis, it is possible to view this problem from the different

resources that our community offers.

Structure and Delivery

In the first genre, the website’s background was purple which symbolizes the purple

ribbon for domestic violence awareness. The website provides information to become educated

on the matter. The authors answer questions such as, “What is abuse?”, “Am I being Abused?”,

and “Am I Abusing Others?” It also provides information to acquire help, hotlines and shelters,

and videos to educate adolescents on domestic violence. In addition, this genre provides

information for undocumented individuals who are in similar situations. In the second genre, the

video begins at the ending of the story of a teen who was in an abusive relationship. It portrays

her as timid and afraid. In this story, she narrates her situation to an adult at her school, where

she explains how she met her abuser. In the beginning she was happy and confident in herself,

until she started to date her abuser. At the end of the film, statistics are shown about teen dating

violence, and a hotline to reach help. The first genre has more information about this issue and

more resources to obtain help. Whereas in the second genre, it captures the attention of the

audience and shows them exactly how domestic violence starts and its consequences. Both

genres are able to portray their message clearly through content and visuality.

Audience and Purpose

The main audience that the authors want to attract are young adults and individuals who

live in Hispanic communities. Their purpose is to inform and make their audience aware about

what domestic violence is and how they can put a stop to it if they find themselves or a loved one

in that situation. The authors want the audience to understand that domestic/dating violence is a

serious issue that teenagers should be made aware of, in order for them to engage in health

relationships rather than unstable and dangerous ones. The language that the authors use is

informal given the fact that their audience are teenagers and can become easily distracted. In

addition, some of their audience are not well-read. Therefore, by using informal language the

authors can reach more people. If the authors chose formal language to use in the video, it would

be unrealistic due to the fact that the main characters are teenagers. The main audience,

teenagers, would laugh at the video rather than pay attention to the message.

The website has fun fonts and an eye-catching design to capture the attention of their

audience. The video is short and straight to the point, and it relies on visualization. Since the

setting takes place in a high school environment, the audience can relate to some of the

characters. Both the website and video are bilingual in Spanish and English in order to also target

teenagers who are from a Hispanic background and are not familiar with the English language.

Rhetorical Issues

Ethos, pathos, and logos are three rhetorical issues are used in order to better analyze these two

genres. These appeals were incorporated by the authors in order to persuade the audience to

become aware of the issue.


Ethos is portrayed in the first genre, when you scroll down to the bottom of the website.

The El Paso County and District Attorneys’ Office are stated as the authors. In addition, in the

“resources” and “get help” link, the website provides reliable hotlines and local services, such as

the Center Against Family Violence and the National Abuse Dating Hotline, that an individual

can call or go to receive help. In the beginning and at the end of the video, ethos is portrayed by

stating that the El Paso County and District Attorneys’ Domestic/Dating Violence Initiative

sponsors the video. This government department is credible due to the fact that their sole purpose

is to bring awareness and protect victims of domestic/dating violence. They began their initiative

to bring awareness to teens on February 11, 2011. El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal

declares that this program “aims to ensure justice by proactively educating, deterring and

preventing the occurrence of family violence before the need for prosecutorial intervention.” (El

Paso County Attorney, n.d.).


Pathos is not clearly seen in the first genre. However, if one were to place close attention

to the wording in the website, it can be noted that the authors choice of words is warm and

accommodating so that if an individual needs help, they do not feel intimidated. The authors of

the website are empathetic towards the reader by stating that it is okay to leave an abusive

relationship, to trust your gut, and that they understand that it can be difficult to leave. As a

viewer of the second genre, one feels empathetic towards the victim and angry or afraid of the

abuser. This causes the viewer of the video to become more aware of their surroundings and

understand what the signs of abuse look like.


Logos is seen in the first genre under a tab called “Facts and Statistics.” This page offers

National, State, and Local statistics and myths on domestic violence. Only State and Local

Statistics are relevant to individuals who live either in the state of Texas or in El Paso. The

appeal of logos is not as affective if the individual viewing this page is from another state in the

United States. In the second genre, the logos appeal is seen as statistics at the end of the video.

They state: “1 in 3 teens experiences some kind of abuse in their relationships, including verbal

and emotional abuse,” “40% of teenage girls, ages 14 to 17, know someone their age who has

been hit or beaten by their partner,” and “80% of all girls who have been physically abused in

their relationships continue to date their abuser.” There are many more statistics, however, the

authors chose these because they are the most important. They show that a large number of

individuals, who are not even adults yet, have experienced a form of abuse. The authors purpose

is to show the audience that this silent issue is much larger than what we believe it is.


Both genres did achieve their purpose to aware their audience on the issue. The website

has an abundant amount of information, ranging from videos to statistics to resources, to inform

their audience of the issue. In addition, through this website, the authors can reach out to the

victims of domestic violence. The video shows the dangerous effect of domestic violence on a

victim. In addition, it provides statistics to inform their audience and a hotline for victims to call

for help. Both genres were effective in conveying the message through ethos, pathos, and logos.

If one genre lacked on one of the appeals, the other ensured to incorporate it. The website would

be more effective on teens or adults who are looking for more information or to learn about

domestic abuse. Whereas the video would be more effective for teens to visualize what dating

violence is. In addition, the video would be viewed as a learning tool in a classroom. These two

genres would make teenagers and adults more aware of this issue. The two genres seemed to

target teenagers and individuals who live in Hispanic communities.


El Paso County Attorney and District Attorneys’ Domestic Abuse. (n.d.). Don’t Let Yourself.

Retrieved February 16, 2018, from


El Paso County Attorney and District Attorney’s Domestic Abuse. (Director). (2013, January 15).

Teen Dating Violence [Video file]. Retrieved February 16, 2018, from