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Dating Violence Seen As Normal

625 children and young people from schools in Madeira answered a 15-question questionnaire as part of the national study on dating violence.

Of these, 72.5%, or 453 individuals, do not consider dating violence to be one of the 15 behaviours questioned.

As an example, in terms of legitimising this phenomenon, 61.3% did not identify control as a form of violence, 36.3% psychological violence, and 32.8% sexual violence.

The most legitimised acts of violence noted by the students were  – picking up a cell phone or entering social networks without authorization (38.9%), prohibiting the wearing of a piece of clothing (33.4%), and being forced to kiss (31.2%).

The data, presented this morning by UMAR – Women’s Union Alternative and Response, show that, in terms of victimisation indicators, 51.1% of female respondents and 41.1% of boys/men have been victims of psychological violence and control behaviours from their partners. As in most studies of this type, there is a higher ratio of female to male victimisation.

Joana Martins, Valentina Ferreira, and Cássia Gouveia, from UMAR presented the “worrying” data of the national study, recalling that the association goes to schools, within the scope of the ART’THEMIS+UMAR project, created in 2004 and which, since 2017, has been going to schools in the Region.

The initiative to raise awareness of citizenship rights and gender equality started with 24 classes in which UMAR volunteers have been working for the primary prevention of gender-based violence in a school context. This school year has the highest number of requests from schools, with 50 classes scheduled.

UMAR would like to reach more young people and develop more sessions throughout the school year, but to do so, it needs more funding.

Samantha Gannon

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