Domestic abuse in young relationships
The following piece is a reflection from a Women's Aid Support Worker and contains references to domestic abuse.
Mia said her "relationship with Stacie was very controlling and she has Mental Health issues", aged 16.
I started supporting Mia because she was in an abusive relationship with her partner. The abuse was sexual and verbal. When I started to support Mia, she was currently facing going to court against her ex.
Mia had no confidence in herself, thought that she was the 'bad one' and that it was all in her head. This is what her partner told her. I explained to her that this was gaslighting, which is a form of emotional abuse when somebody manipulates a person to question their own behaviour and thoughts.
I met up with Mia weekly for a coffee and a chat to help with her self-confidence. In our sessions, we discussed domestic abuse and gaslighting. We looked at the power and control wheel. We went through all the different types of abuse and wrote down different examples that come from this.
From doing these sessions Mia was able to identify some abuse that she had experienced, and we could discuss some positive mantras that could help her to cope with this. We also looked at mindfulness which helped Mia to heal from her experience of gaslighting.
We created a safety plan for Mia as she was nervous in case she bumped into her ex on her walk home from school or if she were to turn up at the house. Meeting up with Mia weekly helped her gain her confidence back and gave her the tools to identify healthy relationships versus unhealthy.
I supported Mia through her court proceedings, during her exams up, and up until she was ready to apply for university. By the end of the support sessions, Mia was in a much better place. She went off to university and we meet up when she comes home during the holidays.
Alness Academy YPI (Youth Philanthropy Initiative) 2019 demonstrates the different forms of abuse through dance for their YPI project below.
Ross-Shire Women's Aid provides support to children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse. Domestic abuse affects 1 in 4 women, so you are not alone. It is not your fault – the person who abuses you is responsible. If you would like to support the work of Ross-Shire Women's Aid, you can make a donation via their website: https://www.rosswa.co.uk/how-you-can-help/donating/
Disclaimer: the views expressed in this post are those of the respective author and are not necessarily shared by the #ChangeHerStory Campaign partners.