In a Relationship is a project focusing on a delicate and sensitive aspect of teenage life during high school: first love relationships – what makes them work and what destroys them. The mission of the project is to make high school students more aware of the potential abuse in the couple and to prevent violence during high school, which can develop into domestic violence later on. By violence we understand physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and online abuses, who are often very difficult to identify because they are confused with love gestures: they are possessive because they love me, they want to know all the time what I do because they are caring/worried for me etc.

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The project developed the first real research in Romania on adolescent couples, with approximately 1,500 adolescent respondents from 80 cities reached. The focus group identified the personal causes of violence, both internal (need for confirmation, unrealistic expectations, fear of being alone) and external (hostile family environment, reduced financial possibilities, familiarity with emotional abuse and manipulation), but also social causes such as lack of female models, lack of specific or explicit sanctions (violence often has no consequences) and a set of patriarchal attitudes passed from generation to generation.

The workshop was developed as a result of the research undertaken and is intended to be an intervention tool to help teenagers better understand what violence and abuse means and what are their manifestations in a relationship. How can they identify the abuse, how they can avoid is, where they can ask for help or what to do if they are already involved or are witnessing such situations.

Through this workshop, “the Unspoken Generation” has the word: during this time, adolescents will explore the motives or causes for which people can become violent and learn about the most subtle forms of emotional abuse and their effects, so that in the end they will develop a more comprehensive picture of couple relationships and risk situations, as well as knowing what they could do or where to ask for help if they ever need it.

The workshop will be led by Silvia Guta, psychotherapist, and Karin Budrugeac, project manager, and will last two hours and a half. The workshop will take place on 23 June 2018, in the Jean Bart Cutlural Centre.

The project is implemented by the Friends for Friends Foundation, together with Avon Romania, and is part of the Respect Campaign. More details can be found on the Facebook page of the project, and the results of the research can be found here.