Case Study: Sally, now 18, was in an abusive relationship with a boy when she was 15
The abuse started when I was 15. I met him through school and the relationship lasted five months. The abuse was constant and started from day one.
He’d force his hand into my underwear and restrained me, like pushing me against a wall, so I couldn’t pull away. He forced me to do sexual things I didn’t want to do and spread rumours round the school that I was ‘easy’. I spoke to my friends but they didn’t really understand what was happening.
I felt confused, I knew what was happening was wrong but I also didn’t know what was right. I hadn’t been told what was normal in a relationship and didn’t realise that it’s OK to say no and he should have respected that. Young people should realise you can say “no” at any point and help is available – there’s always a way out.
I felt that because my relationship only lasted five months and didn’t involve full sexual intercourse, it didn’t mean as much. It does. Things affect people in different ways, and it has affected me a lot.
I don’t think people think of domestic violence as an issue for teenagers. Whether that’s because of our age, or because sexual abuse is usually assumed to be from an adult. But, I know I’m not the only girl this has happened to.
Have you experienced what Sally’s been through?
Relationship abuse and being pressured into sexual activity you don’t feel comfortable with is never OK. Remember it wasn’t your fault and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it, don’t blame yourself.
Try and find someone you trust to talk to. It doesn’t have to be someone in authority, just someone who you feel comfortable talking to. There are also organisations who can give you help and support – find out more here.
Disclaimer: All names and potentially identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the child or young person. Case study is created from Women’s Aid contacts but are not necessarily direct quotes from the young person.