The launch accompanies new research revealing that young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to be abused by their partners than young adults from more privileged backgrounds.
The new findings from NSPCC’s report ‘standing on my own 2 feet’ were gathered from 44 boys and 38 girls aged between 13 and 18 years. The participants were obtained through a range of agencies and organisations helping disadvantaged young people in the UK.
Over half of the females interviewed said that they had been in a sexually or physically violent relationship before the age of 18. Although the girls admitted to being unhappy during their violent relationships, many would accept the abuse as a natural occurrence.
For many young people, abuse is something they learn to expect from their partners- it’s all they know.
One young women involved in a violent relationship said, “I didn’t have a template for what was normal… he told me I was fat and worthless and he slapped me. I was raped a couple of times. The worst thing was having so little worth that I wouldn’t find the strength to leave…when you are with someone abusive it is like they rewrite normality.”
Many abuse victims find that the physical violence is often combined with verbal bullying and emotional techniques such as manipulation. This undermines the victim further and makes them feel helpless and dependent on the perpetrator.
The young women has been free from her abusive relationship for 3 years and is now happily engaged to a partner who she feels respects her.
On Wednesday 28th September, experts admitted that although the NSPCC study is not entirely representative of the UK population, it does suggest that violence occurs more frequently in teenage relationships than previously assumed.
The findings have resulted in calls for extra services dealing with young people in violent relationships.
When domestic abuse occurs so early in life, people grow up believing such behavior is normal. Young people need to be educated in relationship issues, they need to know that it is possible to escape from physically and emotionally abusive partners.
If you or someone you know has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence in any form, it may be helpful to consult a counsellor. A counsellor will listen and support individuals through their life problems and decisions.