Womens Aid's Relationship Health Check Will Help Women Spot The Signs Of Abuse
The tell-tale signs of domestic violence in a relationship are hard to ignore, but the same can't be said for non-physical abuse.
In fact, research by Women's Aid and Cosmopolitan found that a third of teenage girls admitted to being in an abusive relationship. However, of the girls who did not identify as being in an abusive relationship, 65 per cent later admitted to experiencing abusive behaviour.
It's clear the subject of relationship abuse and coercive control presents foggy parameters at best.
In response, Women's Aid has launched its new #LoveRespect website aimed at young women to support those at risk of relationship abuse, which includes a relationship 'health checker'.
The health checker identifies behaviours women might experience such as gas lighting, excessive jealously, having their appearance scrutinised, and sexual pressure.
Users are asked questions such as 'Do they ever make you feel bad for seeing your friends and family?' and 'Do they ever criticise your body or the way you look?' and offered a range of responses.
Once answered, the user gets a response from one of the charity's ambassadors - Chlo, Sophie J, Bekky, Sophie Y and Alice - who are all survivors of abuse.
They give the low-down on what's normal and what is just not right, how they experienced the form of abuse in their own relationship, and the steps that can be taken to stop it.
The website also features a general advice section, a 'seeking help' section featuring a live chat and support contact details, and survivor stories from the brand ambassadors.
Plus, there's a prominent quick exit button for women in immediate danger.
Adina Claire, Acting Co-Chief Executive of Women's Aid, said: "More than half of teenage girls have experienced some form of relationship abuse, but many of them don't realise it.
"Not only is public understanding of coercive control still lacking, but our research also shows that phrases like 'domestic abuse' don't resonate with teenage girls - they see it as something that happens to women with husbands and children, and involves physical abuse."
She continues: "For too long, society has reinforced the message that men should have power in relationships, which has made the sorts of abusive behaviours young women and girls are facing appear normal.
"It seems accepted as standard for young men to manipulate, control and ultimately abuse them. Gaslighting, excessive jealously, having their appearance scrutinised, sexual pressure - these are the things that teenage girls are putting up with.
"We've launched this website to help teenage girls understand the nature of controlling and coercive behaviour. We want to let them know that support is out there, and tell the stories of young women who have been through the same things and survived."
To use the relationship health checker, visit #LoveRespect website here.
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