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Ella and Iona on abusive relationships: “The prevalence in adolescents is much higher than we thought.”

“I think it’s something that needs to be talked about more,” Ella says. “The prevalence in adolescents is much higher than we thought. People just think abuse is physical, but verbal abuse can have major psychological effects on the victim. And sexual abuse." “It’s on such a big scale but it’s not really talked about that much, because it is such an uncomfortable topic, it is quite dark and upsetting,” Iona reflects. “There are so many things people don’t know about it. We were taken aback. Even for younger age groups like our age group abuse is very, very common. Being as young as we are we don’t have that much experience. We chose this topic because obviously, it’s a very serious thing and unfortunately relevant thing, in today’s society with social media as well.”

“One of the things we thought would be interesting and helpful to look into is the prevalence in adolescence,” Ella adds. “Because there is definitely a stigma that it can only happen to adults or maybe only to women and it can only be physical. And that was one of the things we wanted to target with our presentation. It’s much more common in adolescence than we realized. One of the things that I think gets lost in translation is how to take that first step and ask for help, learning how to break that stigma, because there is a stigma that maybe it’s their fault or they did something wrong and it makes you weak to reach out. It’s important to learn how to make that person feel as comfortable as possible and get them the resources they need. It’s not only relevant for people who have been abused but those who knows somebody who has experienced it.”

Do you think you would be able to help now?
“Definitely,” Ella asserts. “Getting a deeper understanding of the whole issue itself definitely opens your eyes so you know more about what you can do to help,” Iona adds. “Before starting this, it was always just ‘go to a trusted adult’, but that’s a very general piece of advice.” Ella agrees: “Adolescents are afraid they would get talked down on, ‘You’re just a kid.’ Especially with teenagers, the first things most victims do is go to a friend.” “In the future if that does unfortunately come up I definitely think we’d know how best to handle it,” Iona says. “The first step helping kids understand. Education is the primary thing you can do to help. Stay educated and aware.”