Tag Archive for: teenagers

Raising awareness of dating violence at an early age is crucial

Violence in dating relationships is defined as the use of behaviours that intend to assume power in the relationship and hurt or control the partner. It may take the form of physical violence (beating, pushing), psychological violence  (insulting, humiliating), sexual violence (kissing against the will of the other, forcing sexual practices) or stalking (chasing, watching contacts).

Myths and beliefs associated with dating relationships are numerous. ‘Jealousy is a proof of love – It is better to have a violent boyfriend than no boyfriend at all – When you like someone, you should do everything he/she likes – Having sex is a proof of love – A slap or insult is not violence and does no harm to anyone.’

Complaints of dating violence have increased in the past five years. Two-thirds of 15-year-old adolescents who date or have dated suffered a form of violence by their current or former partner. Control and psychological violence are the most reported behaviours identified in the UMAR National Survey on Dating Violence, which was presented in Porto on Valentine’s Day.

Half of the Portuguese teenagers don’t think that controlling their partner – the most frequent being the prohibition of talking to a peer or friend – is a form of violence. A third believe it is legitimate to pick up the mobile phone or enter social media without authorization. Boys have higher levels of legitimacy for all forms of violence. Pressing to give a kiss in front of schoolmates, for example, is justifiable for 40% of boys and 20% of girls.

Psychological violence – the most frequent being insulted during a discussion – marked the first dating in 45% of the teenagers. Almost 20% of them declared to have been victims of sexual abuse in an intimate relationship; an increase of 5% compared to last year.

Margarida Pacheco, one of the authors of the study, believes that trivialization and naturalization of violence in dating is taking place. ‘We should start the primary prevention of violence in kindergarten and continue it for many years in school. Both at the level of self-esteem and respect and acceptance that no means no. Many young boys and girls never received systematic information on these issues.’

To produce a working tool on the problem of violence in dating, the municipality of Cascais developed  – together with students and teachers of basic and secondary schools – the pedagogical kit Prevention of Violence in Juvenile Intimacy. The active involvement of the students in the design and implementation of the kit has undoubtedly contributed to its success in schools.

Have a great week         Tenha uma ótima semana                (pic IAC/APAV)