I came across an interesting report from Girl Guiding after they’d looked into attitudes among girls to relationships, asking questions about what they believe acceptable behaviour by a partner in a relationship. The survey on which the report is based is the 2012 Girls’ Attitudes Survey.
According to the report, “… from a young age too many girls regularly tolerate behaviour rooted in jealousy and lack of trust, and have a tendency to reframe it as genuine care and concern for their welfare.”
Main (and sad) findings were that:
- Two-fifths of girls believe it is acceptable for a partner to make you tell them where you are all the time.
- One in ten say it is appropriate for a partner to tell you who you can and can’t spend time with
- A fifth say it is acceptable for a partner to shout at you and call you names (21%) or send photos or videos of you to friends without your permission (17%)
- One in five said it is okay for a partner to tell you what you can and cannot wear.
And the report says, “It would seem that these examples of controlling behaviour – all covered by the government’s new definition of domestic abuse – are an accepted part of relationships for too many girls.” The other worrying thing that stuck out for me is that most girls said they wouldn’t tell parents or other adults/authority figures unless the behaviour was violent. So, too much is tolerated.
Do read the report, as it all makes interesting and important reading, for parents and teachers of girls – and boys. Perhaps even more for the latter.
I discuss the issue of respect and abuse in The Teenage Guide to Stress. Even for young people not in relationships, the incidences of sexual bullying and cruel disrespect are too important to ignore.
Teach our boys and girls to be fair and good to each other and not to tolerate bullying, because that’s what it is, the exertion of power by one person over another.
Spread the word about the government’s This is Abuse campaign. Until people of every age know what it is, it won’t get better.