In today's Ireland, dating abuse is something that's known but rarely discussed – a silence we at SHEmazing! want to shatter.
Carrying out a survey on the topic with over 1,000 Irish women threw up some very frightening results, and yet they may not come as a shock to many given that 55% of those surveyed said they know someone in their inner circle of friends that has been abused in a relationship – and we are just stunned that this isn't talked about more.
The most common form of abuse experienced by 18-35 year-olds, is emotional and psychological, taking the top spot at 89%.
Following that is verbal abuse (67%), physical abuse (50%), cyber (24%), and then stalking (15%).
However, this is not being discussed at a national level, which means there is little to no legislation to protect the victims.
With dating abuse, the victim doesn't live with their partner which means they're not entitled to protection under the current domestic violence legislation in Ireland.
And further, with incidents of stalking – online or otherwise – cases are increasingly difficult to prove under the definition of harassment in Section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.
We want Irish women to come together with us to implore the new Government to re-examine this issue and provide the young women of Ireland with legal protection and the services of support that they deserve.
Our editor, Gillian Fitzpatrick, said of the issues at hand: “Dating abuse is not being talked about therefore it is not being recognised by young women in relationships as unacceptable behaviour."
"Not only do incidents of dating abuse affect the mental health and future relationships of young women but in extreme cases it can lead to accidental or intentional death through physical abuse and suicide for those who see no way out."
"To fully protect young women from dating abuse, we are urging the new Government to recognise that dating abuse is on the increase and current legislation for domestic abuse needs to be extended to make safety orders available to these victims."
"We need to extend protection to younger women in dating relationships that are not covered by domestic violence legislation just because they have never lived with their boyfriend.”
Women who are victims of dating abuse have admitted that they have suffered from a number of long-term side effects including, anger, lowered self-esteem, depression, shame and guilt.
And further, 93% of victims have admitted that they turn to various forms of self-harm to escape their reality – practices which include, overeating (65%), alcohol (45%), cigarettes (31%) and illegal drugs (6%).
To raise awareness of the issue of dating abuse and to raise funds for Women's Aid, we have decided to host a music gig in The Sugar Club on Wednesday July 6, where Róisín O will headline, and more special guests to be announced.
Tickets go on sale TODAY, with the earlybird special price of €19. If you'd like to support us on the night, you can get your tickets here.