Women’s Aid and Avon launch the ‘Love Don’t Feel Bad’ campaign
Friday 12th February 2016
Women’s Aid and Avon today launched the ‘Love Don’t Feel Bad’ campaign, alongside new research that indicates a worryingly high number of young women have experienced controlling behaviour in their relationships.
In a survey of 2,000 16-24 year old women, over one third said they had experienced controlling behaviour from a partner. The research also revealed that those affected often blame themselves, or don’t know something is wrong. 1 in 10 believe that controlling behaviour would happen because their partner didn’t trust them. Only 1 in 3 women understand what “coercive control” means, and 1 in 20 young women regard being scared of their partner as normal and acceptable. While over a third (39%) of those questioned consider themselves as having been in controlling relationships, 37% only knew this in hindsight – and 10% when it was highlighted to them by their friends and family.
‘Love Don’t Feel Bad‘ has been launched to coincide with Valentine’s Day, at a time when we are thinking about our relationships. The campaign aims to help young women recognise coercively controlling behaviour and spark discussion about what is acceptable in relationships, raising awareness of what healthy relationships and love really look like.
18 year-old survivor of domestic abuse, Chlo, said:
“My ex was my first boyfriend, and I think it’s often the case that young people don’t have the experience of healthy relationships to know that what’s happening isn’t normal. It’s so easy just to think “all couples argue” – especially when someone is telling you that you provoked them all the time. And once they start wearing down your self-esteem and isolating you, it spirals to a point that you can’t see a way out. Having experienced coercive control, I know it’s very easy not to recognise those early signs of abuse, and end up staying in a relationship that’s dangerous. Raising awareness with young people is so important because it’ll empower them to recognise signs of control early on, and know what they are experiencing isn’t normal or their fault.”
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“Women’s Aid know that many girls are abused in their very first relationships, and do not know what a healthy relationship looks like. Coercive control underpins the vast majority of all abusive relationships. We are grateful to Avon for working with us to raise awareness of coercive control and to develop resources for young women, and for their parents and guardians, to make sure that there is relevant information and support available.”
Andrea Slater, Managing Director of Avon, said:
“We believe that all women should feel empowered and safe, but the sad reality is that too many women, especially younger women, simply don’t know that it’s not normal or right to be in a relationship where both partners aren’t equal. This is something we need to change and why we’re proud to be working with Women’s Aid on the Love Don’t Feel Bad campaign.”