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Most young people find dating violence legitimate, a study by Women’s Union

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Almost seven out of ten young people who participated in a study on dating violence think stalking or persecution in the relationship is legitimate and almost 60% admitted to having been the victim of violent behavior.

The data is from a study by UMAR – Alternative and Answer Women’s Union, presented today during a webinar on preventing and combating dating violence, promoted by the Commission for Gender Equality (CIG), within the framework of a program (Arthemis +) of primary prevention of gender violence, which involved 4,598 young people from schools in all districts of the continent and islands, from the 7 to the 12 years of schooling.

According to the study, 67% of young people consider dating violence legitimate, of which 26% think control is legitimate, 23% persecution, 19% sexual violence, 15% psychological violence, 14% violence through social networks and 5% physical violence.

Among these almost five thousand young people, whose average age is 15 years old, 25% find it acceptable to insult during an argument, another 35% accepted to go on social networks without authorization, 29% who can be pressured to kiss and 6% understand even though they can push / slap without leaving marks.

With regard to gender differences, it is always on the part of boys, with emphasis on the behavior “pressure to have sex”, in which legitimation among boys (16%) is four times higher than girls (4%).

On the other hand, with regard to victimization indicators, the UMAR study shows that 58% of the young people surveyed admitted to having suffered from dating violence, with 20% admitting to having suffered psychological violence, 17% have been victims of persecution or 8% who were victims of sexual violence.

The most frequent victimization indicators are insulting during a discussion (30%), prohibiting being or talking with friends (23%) or harassing/looking persistently (17%).

There is also a gender difference in victimization, with a prevalence of victims among girls, especially in psychological violence (22%), persecution (19%) or control (15%).

According to the data presented, the victims are predominantly women, portuguese nationality, students and with a heterosexual sexual orientation, while the aggressors are mostly male, with an average age of 24 years, mostly current boyfriends of the victims.

Reported crimes occurred mainly in the districts of Lisbon, Porto and Braga, with verbal and emotional aggressions being the most prevalent forms of dating violence.

“In about 26% of cases, victims were subjected to death threats and / or attempted murder,” says the observatory.

In more than 75% of the cases, the victims did not complain about the aggressor and the most frequent causes to explain the practice of violence are the jealousy and mental problems of the aggressors.

From 2017 to 2020, this observatory has already received 338 informal complaints, and “in most cases there has been no complaint to the police”.

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