I was sitting in a lesson the other day, and overheard a conversation between two girls sat next to me. They were talking about one of their friends (who is quite widely known in our school), and how she had Facebook messaged them with pictures of her body – covered in all the bruises and bumps she had received from her boyfriend. They were exclaiming how during arguments he would kick her off the bed, hit her and yell, and how it got to the point where the girl couldn’t take it any longer and ended it. But, recently they had gotten back together, and their friend kept telling them she was ‘as happy as she’d ever been’. I happen to be friends with the girl on Facebook – and almost every picture she posts is of her and her boyfriend together; holding hands, kissing, close – the photos all suggest that the relationship she has is a loving one… Yet behind the scenes this is not the case. And this is certainly not the first time I’ve heard this kind of thing.
The conversation these two girls had stayed in my mind the entire day, and I thought about all of the small, little, hidden acts of abuse I see on a day to day basis that are accepted as the norm. Things like:
- Guys ‘jokingly’ calling their girlfriend a ‘slut’
- Girls labeling other girls a ‘bitch’ because they disagreed with them
- Boys hitting each other on the back of the head, or in their stomach/groin for being an ‘idiot’
- Words like, ‘whore’ or ‘c***’, ‘being used on social media as generic terms to describe people
These are not very extreme cases of abuse, but they become quite the opposite if you consider what it’s like to be called all those names, be slapped or hit as a ‘joke’ by your friends, talked about behind your back and cyber-abused EVERYDAY.
If things like this are accepted; seen as nothing to be worried about, and turned the blind eye on, then naturally of course they have escalated. No longer do we only have to worry about teenagers calling each other names, or there only being a few ‘aggressive’ characters that intimidate the school. Things have gotten out of hand, and what was once seen as a serious police matter, young people now consider an everyday occurrence.
In 2009 the NSPCC surveyed a large group of 13-17 year old British students, as well as performing a series of interviews around the topic of abusive relationships. Their results found that a quarter of girls and 18 per cent of boys reported some form of physical partner violence. Nearly three-quarters of girls and half of boys reported some form of emotional partner violence, and a third of girls and 6 per cent of boys stated that the emotional violence had negatively affected their wellbeing. One in three girls and 16 per cent of boys reported some form of sexual partner violence.
THESE STATISTICS ARE HORRENDOUS, and I’m sure many of these incidents have gone unreported to the police – if parents are role models, then how are teenagers expected to take these matters seriously and treat them as a crime if women experience an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before reporting an incident to the police?
All of this abuse had to start somewhere, and in my opinion, it is comments like ‘bitch’, ‘stupid’, ‘whore’, ‘c***’, and the occasional kick, punch or slap that could incite an aggressive side of someone capable of performing such abuse. Of course this doesn’t only happen at school, and there are a shockingly large number of kids that witness or are victim to domestic abuse within their homes, so a message for everyone; parents, teachers, teenagers, is to not accept these things. Stand up for yourself. If you don’t things will not get better, and in 20 years time there is the possibility that the figures above could get a lot worse.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.