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To think that the signs of abuse in relationships should be taught in school?

(42 Posts)
silkpyjamasallday Fri 17-Mar-17 12:57:36

After reading a lot of threads on here over the last year or so I have noticed that many many women who post here are in abusive relationships, and often have been in several different relationships all of which have been abusive, and many of these women seem to think what is happening to them is a normal way to be treated. I have had a few relationships in the past which I now realise were abusive, full of gaslighting and manipulation and eventually physical abuse. It was only when I read people experiences here and the advice that they were given that what I had been involved in wasn't ok.

I think schools need to really step up their game in teaching young people who are just starting out in romantic relationships what is and isn't ok. Teens are influenced increasingly by people other than their parents and teachers and I think the relationships that teens watch on TOWIE or Made in Chelsea etc are so unhealthy for the most part, and in many cases I believe what goes on behind the scenes is probably worse as the men's behaviour isn't good when they know they are being filmed! I think it gives teens and young people the idea that it is 'normal' that boyfriends will be possessive, not like you going out, expecting to be waited on hand and foot and serviced sexually at the drop of a hat, with the only return for the female partner being that they have a partner and aren't alone. I didn't know what gaslighting was before I read stuff on here and other things as well I had put aside as normal and had I been better informed I wouldn't have stayed around in bad relationships second guessing how I felt because the relationships were 'normal' and if I wasn't being hit it was ok. I really think schools should do something in PSHE or whatever it's called now to focus on relationships and sex so that these people just starting out in life don't get dragged into a cycle of abuse. I think it is often women and girls who are very empathetic, perhaps have low self esteem and have been taught that they should put themselves second in a relationship.

Anyway I've gone on a bit but AIBU to think that we need to teach young people the signs of abuse and give them the confidence to spot these signs and get out before it gets worse?

Whatsername17 Fri 17-Mar-17 13:02:58

YANBU. It is a requirement of the new sex Ed scheme that we teach "healthy relationships". We teach it in some form in every year. 7s look at what it means to be a good friend, 8s look at healthy relationship, 9s do a topic called consent and in 10 and 11 we cover it all again but with the focus on sexual and romantic relationships.

ilovesooty Fri 17-Mar-17 13:04:24

Of course it would be beneficial for young people to be better informed but don't like the comment about schools upping their game. Who would you like to teach this? How should they be trained? Which aspect of the curriculum would you like to take out to accommodate it?

Moanyoldcow Fri 17-Mar-17 13:06:38

I agree with you. Reading some of the threads in the relationship group makes me want to cry and shout in equal messure.

If children are born into abusive relationships and grow to see dysfunction as normality at home they will need external education to understand what is and isn't acceptable bevaviour.

I really hope these lessons make a difference in the lives of children.

ilovesooty Fri 17-Mar-17 13:09:20

IIdon't know why anyone thinks teachers are automatically competent to teach this or are interested in doing so. Too many teachers teaching too many things in PHSE that are well out of their knowledge and experience.

gluteustothemaximus Fri 17-Mar-17 13:11:43

Yes. Just yes.

TheStoic Fri 17-Mar-17 13:13:55

Yes, schools and parents should be teaching this.

Hopefully we lead (and live) by example.

Hillarious Fri 17-Mar-17 13:23:22

Self-esteem is an important issue and my DC certainly touched on that in primary school.

ilovesooty Fri 17-Mar-17 13:24:31

So if "schools should teach this" how is it to be safely and competently done?

MrsBrew005 Fri 17-Mar-17 13:26:04

Absolutely and as pp said it looks as though schools are aiming to do that which is fantastic. I think the TV companies should do more especially the likes of Towie which we all know is mostly watched by teens

isupposeitsverynice Fri 17-Mar-17 13:27:15

I think the problem is that clearly not all children are getting good relationship models at home so school seems like the obvious place to try and counter it. I agree that it's a lot to expect of increasingly underfunded schools.

BarbarianMum Fri 17-Mar-17 13:27:50

Up to a point YANBU. It would be good to include information on what constitutes a "good" relationship. But I don't agree that this would prove transformational - young people learn most about relationships from the ones they see around them - at home, in their communities, on tv, in the media - and so many of these are disfunctional and their disfunctionality idolised.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Mar-17 13:28:57

IME schools do cover this is PSHE. But as in so many areas, schools are just one small area of influence. We cover sex education, but children still have unprotected sex, we cover e safety and digital footprints, but children still post inappropriately on social media.

MaudLyn Fri 17-Mar-17 13:31:11


KittyVonCatsington Fri 17-Mar-17 13:32:41

It is taught in schools, as part of the PSHE/Citizenship curriculum.

ilovesooty Fri 17-Mar-17 13:38:55

Yes Kitty and I would say the level of enthusiasm and competence on the teachers' part varies hugely. Many teachers don't feel comfortable with the PHSE curriculum, don't want to teach many aspects of it and are overloaded with their core curriculum workload already.

Given the state of current funding and the expectation of further cuts I can't see schools being able to bring specialist trainers in.

Whatsername17 Fri 17-Mar-17 13:44:01

We teach it as part of phse. I am one of 2 teachers who teach sex Ed to 10s and 11s. I underwent specific training in order to deliver it competently.

TheStoic Fri 17-Mar-17 13:45:30

We have some good PSA-type ads on TV here at the moment, about subtle signs of abuse in relationships.

I think they're excellent.

Broccolirevolution Fri 17-Mar-17 13:47:45

Or parents could up their game and stop letting their kids watch TV that sets a bad example.

Always the schools fault.angry

silkpyjamasallday Fri 17-Mar-17 13:47:57

Obviously there will be people who disregard advice, I certainly did, but I think it would be worth it for the few people who would save themselves from potentially a lifetime of being mistreated. As a PP said (sorry don't know how to tag a name, fairly new at all this!) teachers wouldn't necessarily be competent to teach these things, but could schools perhaps bring in someone from outside who IS qualified to talk to the children about these things, not necessarily on a regular basis but perhaps at the end of terms when things are winding down anyway. We used to have 'activity week' at the end of terms at my school and would have classes in self defence and more targeted talks on sex and contraception. But I don't think they were enough, it's all very well and good to say don't let a boy pressure you into doing something you don't want to do but I know that I and many women I know end up giving in and seeing it as part of the give and take on a relationship (and not realising that they aren't really getting anything)

Or alternatively, perhaps a set of short films with actors that could be shown that could involve some of the more insidious signs of abuse and could demonstrate very clearly the real life things to look out for and how something seemingly innocuous could develop into something more? I remember seeing some short adverts online that were aimed at teens mainly about sexting with inanimate objects talking? I thought they were quite good but I think The scenario needs to be truer to life in order to be affective.

ilovesooty Fri 17-Mar-17 13:49:21

Whatsername17 good to hear your school has invested in this.

Laurapalmer90 Fri 17-Mar-17 13:57:04

As far as I know, this already is taught in schools but I often get the impression that because young people have so many influences from all sides nowadays, maybe a lot of them pay more attention to that than what they're taught in schools. It's really sad.

YANBU though. My very first boyfriend was emotionally abusive and I thought it was normal. I believe he would have become physically abusive with time. Had I been more aware I would've gotten out earlier. Instead I wasted nearly five years on him. I'm so glad I got out because afterwards I realised how misogynistic he really was, at one point he actually denied that rape exists, saying that women lie about it. My abuse radar has become really heightened as a result and I always trust my gut instincts. A couple of years ago I ended a relationship because the guy was showing controlling tendencies after three months.

It's sad reading the relationships boards. It makes me want to cry and scream at the same time too. I always feel so desperately sorry for abused women.

silkpyjamasallday Fri 17-Mar-17 13:57:27

I'm not saying it is the schools fault or the teacher or the parents, but teens NEED this as much as they need to be able to read, write and do basic maths imo. Doing something like this in school means that children who don't have a good relationship model to follow at home have something that teaches them to take care of themselves. Obviously schools are underfunded and teachers overworked, but 2 women A WEEK die at the hands of their partners, how bad does it need to get before something is done that could be partially preventative? The government should fund it, as it is protecting not only women but their children who are some of the most vulnerable but invisible people in our society. But I know that's probably an unreasonable expectation, but it may well save money in mental health provisions because some people would avoid being so damaged by relationships

TheFallenMadonna Fri 17-Mar-17 14:41:47

Schools do it now. Sadly, other influences often dominate.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 17-Mar-17 14:56:10

Its not that I blame the schools at all, its society and all that entails

however school in the ONLY place we can get them in a room and say "you know, this behaviour in unhealthy and unacceptable"

I wish I had been taught it to be honest!

its can be done in an age and both genders appropriate way


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