Most people think that when we talk about young people suffering from domestic violence or domestic abuse we are talking about their parents. And yes some young people are unfortunate enough to live and grow up in a home where domestic abuse takes place, however you may be surprised to learn that relationship abuse is something that many young people will experience first–hand. Relationship abuse is an issue that all young people should be aware of…
Some stats and facts that we don’t talk about enough:
- Girls 16-19 are now considered the most at risk of domestic violence, followed by 20-24
- Nearly a ¼ of girls 13-17 had experienced physical violence from a partner
- 1/3 had been pressured in to unwanted sexual acts.
- 2 women are killed each week in the UK by a partner/ex-partner
And it is not only girls….
- 40% of domestic abuse victims are male
- 2x as many male victims do not tell anyone about the abuse they are suffering
In light of these facts the Government recently amended the legal definition of Domestic Abuse to include young people too (although only those over 16, unfortunately).
Relationship abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality and does not just cover violence or physical abuse – it can take many forms including – controlling or threatening behaviour, checking your mobile phone to see what you’ve been up to or who you’ve been talking to, dictating who you can or can’t see or spend time with, or challenging what you wear…
Often abusive behaviours can seem quite small – It might seem sweet that your partner phones and checks in with you throughout the day, but there’s a difference between checking in and checking up on you…
It may seem natural that your partner would get upset and jealous if they saw you chatting to someone else – or the fact that they sometimes put you down in front of your friends; those little snide comments about how your friends aren’t ‘real’ friends or aren’t good enough for you…. The trouble is, things can very quickly spiral out of control and you can be left feeling isolated without any confidence.
It is not easy to stand up to abusive behaviour. It is even harder to walk away from someone you really care for because they continually mistreat you.
At the end of the day it is up to you to decide what you are prepared to put up with. You need to think about where your personal boundaries are and what you expect from a partner; equally, how are you going to behave towards your partner in return -Check out the prefect partner pages to help you do this?
It is much easier to challenge abusive behaviour early. In general it doesn’t get better – it often escalates and gets worse as you give in and they take more and more control.
Remember, it is not your responsibility to save someone or to make them change – that is their responsibility and completely up to them.
If these issues are relevant to you, it might help to read this…leaving a bad relationship
© Going off the Rails 2014. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt