Women’s Aid have launched a campaign to raise awareness about “coercive control” and relationship abuse among young people.
The #TooIntoYou campaign aims to dispel common beliefs about the nature of abusive and toxic relationships.
According to Women’s Aid, many people stay in abusive relationships because they minimise their pain or normalise their partner’s toxic behaviour. Despite the fact that one in six young women aged 18-25 have experienced coercive control in a relationship, one in five have never heard of the term.
Coercive control refers to the way one person subjugates another in a relationship. To raise awareness on the subject, Women’s Aid has launched toointoyou.ie, providing information about common red flags that may indicate the presence of coercive control.
Common methods of coercive control include isolating a person from friends and family, the deprivation of basic needs, such as food, monitoring one’s time and utilising degrading and humiliating language. Stalking, particularly online stalking, is also prevalent.
CEO of Women’s Aid Sarah Benson has urged young people to take these signs seriously: “Coercive control completely traps you in an abusive relationship and can have a serious impact on young women as they begin to make their way in the world.”
Mary Hayes, the leader of the Too Into You project, said: “From our work with young people and our research, we know that many young people don’t realise that abuse can happen in their first relationship and that you don’t have to be living with someone for them to be abusive towards you.
She added: “If young people don’t know how to spot the early warning red flags of abuse, they are at risk of finding themselves drawn into, and being trapped in abusive, coercive and controlling relationships.”
If you or someone you know has experienced any signs of coercive control, Women’s Aid has resources to help. At toointoyou.ie, young people can learn warning signsred flags of abuse, take a “healthy relationship quiz”, and learn to support a friend.
Additionally, the Women’s Aid Helpline Team chat, toointoyou.ie messaging service and Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 provide free and confidential services.
Benson acknowledged that despite much progress, such as the passing of the Criminal Justice Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, there still needs to be greater measures to help those suffering from abuse.
“That’s what Women’s Aid is trying to do with our #TooIntoYou campaign with young people, to tell them this behaviour is serious, it is a crime but you don’t have to suffer in silence.”