Women’s Aid is launching a new website to create awareness around relationship abuse and provide support to those who may be suffering from it.
The ‘Too Into You’ website runs alongside their #toointoyou campaign, which aims to teach young people in particular about red flags in relationships.
Mary Hayes, who leads the Too Into You project at Women’s Aid, says she is passionate about the need to educate all young people in Ireland about abuse and highlights the purpose of the new website. She said “At our dedicated website toointoyou.ie young people can learn the red flags of abuse, take our healthy relationship quiz, and learn how to help a friend they are worried about.”
“If it’s your first relationship it can be difficult to know what acceptable behaviour, especially if you have nothing to compare it to. 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.
“We also know that many young women suffer in silence and don’t tell anyone about the abuse they are subjected to.”
It is estimated that one in women in Ireland aged 18-25 have been subjected to coercive control by a current partner or ex-partner, but one in five young people in Ireland have never heard of the term before.
Women’s Aid defines coercive control as, “when your partner assaults, threats, humiliates and intimidates you to frighten, harm, or punish you. It traps you in your relationship and makes it impossible or dangerous to break up with them.”
Coercive control has been a crime in Ireland since January 2019, yet 23% of young people do not believe that it is a criminal offence.
Sarah Benson, the CEO of Women’s Aid has said that “Coercive control can feel like invisible chains and a fear that creeps into all elements of your life. It deprives you of your freedom and independence and reduces your ability to move freely in your life and make decisions for yourself.”
Women’s Aid hopes their new campaign and website will reduce stigma and victim blaming culture around abuse, which 64% of young people have named as a reason for victims not seeking support.
Over half of young people also believe that a lack of knowledge about the supports available also creates a barrier to those seeking support, and it is hoped that the #toointoyou campaign will combat this.
Should anyone need support or information, there is a confidential instant messaging support service available on the new website (toointoyou.ie) where the Women’s Aid Helpline Team can provide this. Women’s Aid also has a 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.