Promoting adolescents’ capabilities to improve their intimate relationships with their peers is the first important step to contrast the urgent phenomenon of intimate partner violence among adolescents.
One in five young people, from 15 to 18 years, in UK and Spain, have experienced physical, psychological and sexual violence in teenage relationships. In Italy, more than 2 milion people (5% of the Italian population from 14 to 65 years) experienced sexual abuses before the age of 18 (ISTAT, 2018).
We consider dating violence (DV) among adolescents as a "public health priority" and a "question of human rights" due to its consequences for young's health in the short and long term. Among these we can mention health consequences like psychopathological symptoms (from anxiety, depression to eating disorders and reported suicidal ideation or attempts - Murray, Wester, & Paladino, 2008); health risk behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse, and non-safe sexual practices (Exner-Cortens, Eckenrode, & Rothman, 2013). Moreover, such traumatic events experienced early in life also limit life chances for young people in socio-economic terms.
To contrast this phenomenon a positive thinking approach is needed, which means encouraging adolescents in challenging sexist and tolerant attitudes towards gender-based violence and dating violence.
Our project, “Lights, Camera and Action Against Dating Violence” (Lighst4Violence), contributes to education and awareness-raising about the importance of positive interpersonal relationships based on self-esteem and trust. It is aimed at promoting skills to manage conflicts through interpersonal communication, mediation and negotiation among youth. Therefore Lights4Violence aims at empowering young people to be aware of their rights and those of their peers to increase their self- esteem and to protect themselves from at-risk or abusive relationships.
Our group involves researchers working in different European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Poland and United Kingdom, in collaboration with teachers, to challenge sexist and tolerant attitudes towards gender-based violence and dating violence, providing them tools to build positive interpersonal relationships based on self-esteem and trust.
If you believe that promoting protective factors, such as trust, recognition of diversity, and mutual respect and friendshipis a way to prevent dating violence, follow us on facebook (www.facebook.com/Lights4Violence/);twitter (@lights4violence) and visit our website www.lights4violence.eu
Edited by the Lumsa team
LIGHTS4VIOLENCE TEAM AT THE KICK OFF MEETING IN MADRID