Teenage girls who have been mistreated by their boyfriends are more likely to later become victims of domestic violence.

This so-called 'dating violence' is very sophisticated, they know at Sterk Huis.

'You see a black eye, but this is about the manipulation and control that precedes it.'

This article is from AD Brabants Dagblad.

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Your boyfriend is always waiting for you at school.

Or he drops you off at a party and waits outside.

He texts you all day long and wants to know where you are.

What does that mean?

That it is nice that he always comes to pick you up, because then you are always together, right?

Or that the boy is quite the jealous type?

And the latter is very often seen as a positive characteristic by girls, says Jesse Lapien.

"Because, they say: then he really likes me. And they also answer that when I ask them what it means if you get 160 texts a day from a boy. The line between attention and control is very difficult for them to understand. recognise."

At Sterk Huis, Lapien provides resilience training to vulnerable teenagers who have run into problems.

Teen Relationships

These are examples of what is called 'dating violence', intimate partner violence in teenage relationships.

Today, during the International Day against Violence against Women and the launch of Orange the World (see box), Sterk Huis draws attention to this social problem, among other things.

Its magnitude is difficult to quantify.

"One in five women has to deal with some form of violence," says Judith Martens, cluster manager of the safe shelter at Sterk Huis.

"And if you know that dating violence is a precursor to that, I think you're talking about large percentages."

The safe shelter of Sterk Huis houses women who have already been victims of domestic violence, human trafficking or sexual abuse.

Martens: "When we peel back their lives, we see that there were signs in the past. Very often in the form of dating violence. These are girls who had a boyfriend at a young age who manipulates, controls and isolates in a very subtle way ."

It's about power

Lapien: "It's about the power that the partner has over the fortunes of this girl. When someone with a black eye enters Sterk Huis, that's something you see. But you don't have a view of all the subtleties that precede it. went."

It's important, the experts say, to pick up on these kinds of signals much earlier.

Lapien: "Now we see the women when it's too late, only when there are problems. That is very worrying. We need to make the girls aware earlier: that they can say 'no' and that things that are not nice in a relationship , not be okay."

Until five years ago, she gave training courses at secondary schools, for which there is no longer a subsidy.

Martens: "But we should not put all the pressure for signaling on education. Teachers already have so much to do. It is a problem that we as a society need to tackle."

Sterk Huis calls for a public campaign.

Orange the World

Orange the World is an international campaign against violence against women and girls.

The campaign starts today, the campaign will run until December 10.

The symbol is a raised orange hand.

The color represents a sunrise in a future with perspective and without violence against women.

In the Central Brabant region, buildings are lit up orange, and municipal authorities draw attention to the problem through their social media channels.