Nearly 56 per cent of young people said they have experienced controlling behaviours from a partner and over a quarter said they know a friend or acquaintance who has been a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship, according to the study.
The research also shows worrying figures about controlling behaviours becoming normalised in society with 40 per cent of young women (16-to-21 year old) relating this to the amount of abuse they witness in the society – nearly eight per cent of young women haven’t had any exposure to healthy relationship based on equality and respect.
The impact of coercive control in relationships is often severe with long-term implications; nearly 49 per cent of young adults said these behaviours made them feel intimidated, humiliated and even worthless, with girls significantly more impacted (63 per cent) than boys (34 per cent).
Some 44 per cent of girls and 23 per cent of boys even confessed that the experience changed the way they behaved.
The problem often lies in communication with four in 10 young people saying that the controlling behaviours are not talked about enough and over a third admitting that they would not know where or who to turn to for support if they were experiencing the issue.
Half of young people also fail to spot the signs of controlling behaviours – out of those who had experienced abuse, 84 per cent of girls and 65 per cent of boys wrongfully blamed the person experiencing the behaviour for the abusive they received.
With over half of young adults predominately learning about positive relationships from their friends and parents, there is clearly a need to better educate young people on the difference between caring and controlling actions. As part of the ongoing campaign, Avon will be making a commitment in the UK to raise wide scale awareness of non-physical violence in relationships amongst young people which includes tapping into their 6 million representatives to speak out to empower women and girls in a bid to tackle the issue.
The Define the Line study was launched in conjunction with the announcement of the Avon Foundation for Women’s largest single donation, nearly £2million globally, for female victims of gender based violence, with an event at London’s Somerset House to also mark their inaugural partnership with International Women’s Day.
This marks the next chapter in Avon’s commitment to ending domestic violence and supporting survivors globally on International Women’s Day as part of the movement’s #BeBoldForChange campaign.
In the UK, the Avon Foundation for Women will be donating £250,000 to Refuge for front line services – the largest singular corporate donation the charity has ever received.