Talking About Healthy Relationships
With our nationally accredited Healthy Relationships project set to launch once more this Autumn, Company Director Krystal talks about why Unique Voice is passionate about raising this important issue in schools.
After watching the BBC THREE new drama ‘Killed By My Boyfriend’ I found myself deep in thought about our early intervention project Me+You=4Eva. This project was created to inform young people of what a healthy relationship should look like, strengthening their resilience and confidence with the aim to help them make safe choices. We do this through drama and workshops, not just to give young people a memorable assembly but to try and attempt to embed a visual memory of the play to help support them if ever a controlling relationship confronted them. We know too well that control is often the hardest form of domestic violence to spot.
I remember, at the tender age of 14, falling head over heels with a boy and although I didn’t experience violence, I did find myself changing little parts of my image, spending less time with friends and altering my personality to accommodate him. There, I’ve just admitted the entire problem. He didn’t hit me, but that doesn’t take aways from the fact that it was an unhealthy, controlling relationship with or without violence.
We know that thousands of people die every year from domestic violence, women aged 16-24 are most at risk of abusive relationships. Very rarely is it violence that starts an unhealthy relationship, it is however, often what ends it. It’s in that dangerous spiral, the physiological changes, that mental shift and the isolation, that power one person has over another.
I commend our culture for how far it has come with this very taboo issue, and I feel confident to say we are talking about it. We are listening to the experiences of others, learning how to shift a generation in to understanding that a healthy relationship should never be negatively dominated by one person. But of course, we have still have a mountain to climb.
I would like to mention some of the amazing organisations who support adults and children experiencing abusive relationships. Refuge, Survive, Women’s Aid, BAVA and The Bristol Ideal. From working on the ground they are able to articulate much better than anyone the impact abusive relationships can have throughout generations and offer ideas for the improvement of awareness and support.
Our job remains in helping young people. Our vision is that we help them know their rights, their own expectations and tolerance levels. If, for whatever reason, those expectations are low or have been compromised by a child’s past then the Unique Voice team work tirelessly to help them recognise and find belief in their self worth. Big vision I know, but it’s what keeps us motivated.
Knowing that we are helping to broaden the understanding and definition of domestic violence by exposing the more subtle forms, keeps us more committed than ever.
Me+You=4Eva launches again this November. Every time we revisit this project it becomes clear how much early intervention in this subject is needed, we are always saddened by the stories we hear and sometimes shocked, BUT this only inspires us further and makes us more determined that history cannot be repeated with our future generations.