Violence against women: how to detect abuse in a teenage relationship

One day he appeared at the door of his internet booth business with a huge bouquet of red flowers, along with a crudely drawn heart. Her friends thought it was the most romantic gesture of hers. It took several weeks for them to find out that this was the way to apologize for the first pull of her hair. Jimena —as we will call her to protect her identity— not only liked her gesture, but also fell in love with her even more. It took her many insults, teasing and hanging attempts to realize that this was not love, and that if she did not escape from that relationship, the only one who was risking her life was her.

So, Jimena was 16 years old and that was her first love. She is one of the girls that the statistics speak of, which warn of the increase in cases of sexist violence in adolescents. According to the National Program for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women and Members of the Family Group (Aurora), of the just between January and September of this year have reported 40,760 cases of violence against children and adolescents, of which 71% correspond to women (29,274) and 28.2% to men (11,486).

In addition, between January and August 2022, 7,816 cases of rape were handled, of which a total of 5,392 were minors; Of this number, one 93.9% were girls and female adolescents. Worse still, according to the Live Birth Certificate Online Registration System of the from January 1 to October 25, 2022, there are 1,187 births nationwide whose mothers were up to 14 years old, including two under 10 years old.

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These alarming figures show the reality of Peru in terms of The reported cases are only the visible part of a problem that is mostly silenced by feardue to lack of information on what to do and who to go to and, above all, because the majority do not recognize some behaviors that have been normalized as violence.

Unicef ​​experts have noted with concern how violent behavior is trivialized in the environment in which many children and adolescents grow up. “They grow up listening to a discourse that condemns violence, but what they often see and experience is the use of violence for different purposes and in the different areas in which they spend their lives”, they collect in their report Understand to Prevent.

“The big problem is that violence in the country is daily and, even worse, it is normalized, that is, it is considered a valid practice to correct, control or show power.”

Report “We are free, Let’s always be free”, from Minedu, MIMP, Unicef.

During the interventions, María Sosa, promoter of Prevention and Promotion of in Piura, invites adolescents to reflect on gender violence. They are clear that love, trust and respect are essential in healthy couplesand that violence, insults, lies, manipulation and machismo are behaviors typical of a toxic relationship.

They know the theory, but cracks begin to appear in their certainties when the issue of jealousy and control is raised, for example. And through those cracks of compromise is where subjugation and domination begin to creep in.

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Gender violence seeks the submission of the other person and uses maneuvers that tend to camouflage themselves in the name of love. Control comes first, then isolation from friends, blackmail, blame, insults, threats, and physical violence”. This is how María Sosa explains it, adding that it is important to involve men in the process of eliminating violence against women and members of the family group.

Rosa Cornejo, a psychologist at the Polyclinic Center of the University of Piura, agrees with her, and considers that education is vital to eradicate theThere are young people who have patterns learned from childhood. There are things that are implicit and even normalized by parents, so the change must start with them, to avoid sexist people in the future“, Explain.

Mobile phones and social networks become elements of continuous control

Specialists warn that everything begins with an ideal, the romanticism that encompasses endless myths to justify the unjustifiable: the better half, the love that can do everything and forgives everything, renunciation and surrender, opposite poles attract, the test of love.

In recent years we see movies and series that promote this ideal of passion-suffering, of jealousy as a sign of love, and of this as a mechanism to change the other person”, warns Cornejo Briceño.

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Movies, books and songs idealize love-suffering

The same thing happens with the books and the lyrics of so many songs (those that say “without you I’m nothing” or “I’d rather die by your side than live without you”). “During adolescence, in the stage of falling in love, situations such as ‘You are my property’, ‘I can do what I want with you’, a type of passive abuse, which is the one that does not hit, but manipulates, and causes damage, especially in self-esteem”, claims the psychologist, who underlines the need to review gender mandates, to get rid of stereotypes.

Classic tales like Cinderella or Snow White do not narrate what happens during the coexistence and they were written —warns the specialist— with the message that women have to be passive and forgive everything in exchange for the love of Prince Charming. Novels – she adds – also contribute to gender violence under the slogan ‘I can’t live without you’. Those messages that say that girls should be educated in dependence and care, and they in strength, power and courage.

Cases of psychological violence are imperceptible because, many times, it is normalized and affects the mental health of the victim. For this reason, it is important to encourage women not to remain silent, warns the psychologist.

Many times the boys do not speak but they do express in a behavioral way if they are suffering from a toxic relationship, they begin to feel less, they isolate themselves, they have a feeling of worthlessness, they are ashamed to go out, they change their way of dressing, academic performance is an indicator for the parents”, recommends the specialist.

violence in schools

According to the statistics of the Siseve portal, between September 15, 2013 and September 30, 2022, at the national level there have been registered 48,147 cases of school violence, affecting more women (51%) than men (49%).

Therefore, if you are a victim of any type of violence at school, you can enter and report your case. It is a free service that works nationwide to report acts of school violence, such as bullying and cases of sexual violence between schoolchildren. You should keep in mind that you are not at fault in this situation and that the report is completely confidential.

There is also the free telephone line 0800-76-888 and the WhatsApp number 991-410-000 that works from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night.

On this telephone platform you can talk with school coexistence specialists, who will give guidance to deal with the case. Line 100 is also available, a free national telephone service specialized in providing information, guidance and support to victims of violence or mistreatment. It can be accessed by dialing 100 from any landline, public or cell phone 24 hours a day.

Red flags for parents

  • He doesn’t go out with his usual friends.
  • It isolates itself more and more, nor you feel like going out or doing things you used to like.
  • You receive phone calls or messages that condition your mood.
  • constant mood swings (sharper than those of adolescence).
  • Changes in your way of dressing.
  • Shows fear or physical fear.
  • Accept demeaning and humiliating comments.
  • It feels clumsy.

Warning signs of dating violence

We must also be careful with the manifestations that occur during the courtship, such as jealousy, the hurtful language of the couple, physical damage, touching without consent, sexual abuse, verbal aggressiveness, humiliation, comparisons with other people, even control of the clothes you wear or how you look.

If your partner tries to control your friendships and activities or isolate you from your friends, threatens to end the relationship if you don’t do what he wants, has possessive expressions like ‘you are mine’, scares you, it is essential that you ask for help”, recommends the psychologist Rosa Cornejo.

The first symptoms:

  • has tried to isolate you of your friends. He doesn’t like them and gets upset if you talk to them.
  • He doesn’t want you to go anywhere without him.l.
  • Try to know who calls you and keep an eye on your phone and your contacts on social networks.
  • Control your way of dressing to put on makeup, to move, to behave.
  • makes fun of you, ridicules you, makes you feel worthless.
  • Accuses you of flirting with others. Do not trust what you say and check it.
  • Does he ever get so angry and nervous with you that you feel afraid
  • Has he ever hit or pushed you?
  • question your feelings for him if you do not accede to his wishes.
  • It makes you feel sorry or threatens to commit suicide if you let him.
  • He promises changes that he does not deliver.
  • Has spread messages, insults or images of you online or mobile without your permission.

Specialists agree that Actions to prevent violence must start from childhoodinstilling values ​​and respect for women and that, when someone exercises violence against women, it is important that those responsible are reported and that the State guarantees the integrity of the victims who take this step.

If you are a victim of violence or know a woman who isit is important that you are informed about your rights and the spaces that the State and other institutions make available to you to report and that those responsible for exercising physical, psychological or sexual violence be punished.

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Violence against women: how to detect abuse in a teenage relationship