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Intimate relationship abuse: There are ‘one in every five young women’ who have been subjected to abuse

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

The national organisation Women’s Aid highlights that there have been over 33,000 cases of women between 18-25 who experienced abuse by their partner or ex.

84% of all women who contacted Women’s Aid said that the abuse had an impact on them including different anxieties and being isolated from their friends and family. The findings of the fundraising organisation highlight the “severe impact that intimate relationship abuse can have on young women’s mental wellbeing”. To help and support, Women’s Aid has now launched the #TooIntoYou campaign which includes information and guidelines on how to deal with abuse. “We started it because we saw a rise in young women coming to our services. The way that abuse happens when you are younger can be very different”, says Mary Hayes, project lead for Women’s Aid Too Into You Campaign.

Photo by Diana Cibotari for Pixabay.

Within the campaign the charity also found out that over 50% of the women experienced abuse before they turned 18. The abuse included emotional, physical and sexual abuse. In one particular case, which is highlighted by the organisation, a young woman subjected to intimate relationship abuse said she was in a relationship with an “older boy” when she was 17. “A few months in, he was adamant for me to stay in his house on the weekends, this is where the isolation began”, the woman says. Later on she examines the consequences for her and says she felt like she “had nothing left but him.”

To prevent any kind of abuse Women’s Aid requires more enlightenment for children and teenager in secondary schools and an improvement of the curriculum. “The new curriculum for secondary schools has to include information on the types of abuse, supports that are there and they also need to have a gender lens. The foundation of the prevention is gender equality”, says Mary Hayes.

However, the charity’s research reveals that one in four women in Ireland will be subjected to domestic abuse in their lifetime which the organisation points out as “a massive number”. The #TooIntoYou campaign therefore provides a helpline and a relationship quiz to offer information and a self-test if a relationship is “healthy or abusive”.  

Mary Hayes also encourages young women who experience any kind of abuse to not suffer alone and to seek help. “We know it is a very tricky thing and a huge step for somebody to lift up the phone and give us a call. Our helpline for example is a listening service. We will not ask identifying questions, such as your name, and our ambassadors are trained well to help everyone.”

Regarding the fact that even the World Health Organisation acknowledges violence against women as a “major public health problem and a violation of human rights”, Women’s Aid also requires more support by the government for other organisations. Therefore the government “needs to make commitment to more funding for other organisations and helplines”, says Ms Hayes.

Women’s Aid Ireland

For all people who are currently looking for help, Women’s Aid offers you support at www.toointoyou.ie and with their 24 hour national free phone: 1800 341 900.

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