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New Study: Young Lovers Would Rather Undergo Abuse in the Name of "Love" Than Break Away From Abusive Partner

First Posted: Dec 01, 2014 10:18 PM EST
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Domestic Violence

Photo : Marina D. Sandoval

Young love often dispenses rose-colored glasses to those affected by it, which is wonderful... as long as one partner doesn't give the other a black eye and convince them that they can't escape the relationship.

A new study distributed by global makeup company Mary Kay highlights the resounding fact that teens would rather undergo abuse in the name of "love" than sever ties with an abusive partner.

The 2014 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey asked 500 young men and women to share stories about remaining in abusive relationships. The report and its findings are a part of Mary Kay's "Don't Look Away" educational awareness campaign, and it assesses the familiar behavior pattern whereby relationship abuse victims function under the doctrine "love means don't tell."

Forty percent of young people, aged 18-24, didn't tell anyone about the abuse experienced in their relationships, and 57 percent remained silent for at least six months before sharing the news with someone else. The abuse that was most frequently reported was emotional abuse (73 percent), followed by physical abuse (29 percent), sexual abuse (22 percent) and digital abuse (19 percent). Financial abuse is also a distinctive act of abuse that wasn't mentioned in survey.

"It's extremely alarming to learn that 73 percent of teens and young adults have experienced emotional abuse in a relationship and most are waiting six months or more to seek help or support," said Crayton Webb, vice president of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility for Mary Kay, Inc. "We need to prevent and ultimately end dating abuse by making sure young people know where and how they can get help before relationships become unhealthy and potentially violent."

The joint project by Mary Kay and Loveisrespect.org was developed to raise awareness, take action and find out how long young adults and teens stay in abusive relationships, as well as uncover which type of abuse caused the battered party to reach out. Loveisrespect is a text-based helpline that connects trained peer advocates to who those who need support, safety tips and referrals for additional help. By texting "loveis" to 22522, battered individuals can be assisted and empowered.

The "Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey" unveiled meaningful and insightful data that speaks to the alarming trends regarding violence and abuse against women in the U.S. The stories communicated by those who took part of the survey were often along the lines of "I need help getting away from him" to "I feel isolated" to "I didn't have anyone else to talk to" and so much more, according to Brian Pinero, director of Digital Services for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Loveisrespect.

"To understand when and how teens and young adults reach out for help and what type of abuse is most prevalent in this day and age are important tools in providing the right resources to help more people build healthy relationship," Pinero said in a press release.

Latino culture's tendency toward machismo and language barriers contributes to the prevalence of relationship violence and abuse. And Latina women often have trouble leaving those relationships because of immigration status and other unique issues.

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