1 in 5 women over the age of 18 experience physical, emotional and sexual abuse in Ireland and in a national survey on domestic abuse, almost 60% of people who had experienced severe abuse in intimate relationships experienced the abuse for the first time under the age of 25.
Women’s Aid recently launched the second year of a national public awareness campaign highlighting dating violence. There is a myth in society that abuse only occurs in older and more established relationships. But we hear on our National Freephone Helpline that this is not the case.
In many 'going out' or 'dating' relationships, abuse is already a feature but is often not recognised as such by the young woman herself, or her friends.
The 2in2u campaign highlights unhealthy and abusive behaviours in a Relationship Health Check Quiz at www.2in2u.ie, in the hope that young women, if informed, might get help before the relationship becomes more established, and it has become harder to leave or get support.
It also encourages young women to listen to their instincts with its strap line - 'If it feels wrong, it probably is.' The campaign is supported by Charlene McKenna, Irish actress and star of RTE Drama ‘Raw’.
The 2in2u campaign highlights the way the controlling boyfriend's attention can often be overwhelming at the early stages of the relationship, and encapsulates how it feels to be a young woman experiencing abuse. Again and again, we hear from women living with domestic violence that the signs that her partner was possessive and controlling were from the start. But to her and those around her, it appeared like he was just so into her.
The 2in2u campaign is a four week long radio, online, digital and poster advertising campaign targeting young women aged 18-25 years old. To listen to the Radio ad and for more information visit www.womensaid.ie/campaigns. You can also request posters to be sent out to you from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you affected by dating abuse?
Dating abuse can happen to any woman at anytime and it means that your boyfriend does already/may try to:
How Women’s Aid can help
If you are anxious or worried about your relationship visit www.2in2u.ie, for a relationship health check and contact the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 to talk to someone in confidence, who can help you make sense of your situation.
This piece originally appeared on New Left Project as part on an international collaboration for May Day 2011.
You could be forgiven for thinking it was an elaborate April Fools' Day prank when British universities minister David Willetts announced earlier this month that feminism was to blame for the struggles of working-class men. During a briefing on the government's social mobility strategy, Willetts told journalists feminism had 'trumped egalitarianism' over the past 40 years. Key feminist victories, such as the movement of women from the home into universities and workplaces, had been won at the expense of working-class men, he said.
Willetts demonstrates a spectacular misunderstanding of some major progress made in the 20th century. The feminist movement put us firmly on the road to a more equal society. More than that – feminists laid the paving stones and, as Duncan Robinson puts it, feminism did not trump egalitarianism, feminism is egalitarianism.
Willetts' type of remark is not unique. Only days ago, a row erupted between the British Labour Party and the Tories when David Cameron told Labour MP Angela Eagle to 'calm down, dear' during PMQs in the House of Commons. The comment was denounced as 'sexist, patronising and insulting' by the Labour Party.
Interestingly, these slights from members of the Conservative Party come at a time when nearly £6 billion of the £8bn net revenue to be raised through cuts by 2014-2015 will come from women.
Willets's and Cameron's statements are symptomatic of a deeply damaging discourse that has gained more and more momentum as the global recession progresses. It has manifested itself in different ways across Europe and it is part and parcel of the neoliberal assault on women that European governments are unleashing in a cynical and misguided effort to resolve the crisis.
To be clear, this is not to say that men have been spared in the recession – expenditure cuts and tax increases have badly affected both sexes (albeit in different proportions), and the first area to be hit by mass unemployment was the male-dominated construction sector. As the recession progresses, however, traditionally female-dominated sectors such as retail and hospitality are likely to see further job losses.
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