Everybody has the right to a relationship where mutual respect, trust, appreciation and non-violence are being developed. What if it is not so? Sometimes we recognise the behaviour and actions of the person with whom we are in a romantic relationship as attachment and passionate love, while they can in fact be signs of jealousy, possessiveness and control.
Violence in youth relationships relates to violent behaviour aiming at control, power and intimidation. Research in this area show that after the first incident, violence becomes more frequent and intense, where the victim loses control over his/her own life and becomes more and more dependent on the partner, while isolated from others.
Violence in youth relationships takes the form of physical, emotional, sexual and economic violence. It is important to emphasise that after the first incident, it does not cease, but intensifies. Sometimes it is very difficult to identify the signs of violence in a relationship.
Some possible reasons why people remain in a violent relationship are a wish to help the partner to change his/her behaviour, the idea that one cannot live without the partner, shame that other people may find out about the violence, self-blaming and belief that violence is deserved. Reasons may be a fear for one’s safety and insufficient social support. Sometimes it seems that the relationship is not really bad, that the violence is not going to repeat, or that it will disappear after marriage or child-birth.
If you anyway see that some behaviours of your partner are not the way you want, talk to him/her, talk about it with an adult or a friend, ask professional help at school or at a counselling center.
What you can do if you suspect that your friend/peer is exposed to violence:
- show that you want to talk and that you are worried because the person who suffers violence in his/her relationship feels isolated and unhappy
- listen without judging and evaluating what the person has to say
- be supportive, say that you are there for him/her
- show and verbalise your disapproval of his/her partner’s violent behaviour
- help to seek for information and help
- tell some adult about what is happening to your friend
- accompany him/her to an adult/seek help in the counselling center…