Cyprus Mail

Warnings over abusive relationships among university students

domestic abuse, domestic violence, victim, assault
Rape or sexual violence victims can only be examined in Nicosia

Almost 500 calls were made to a domestic violence helpline in the span of 16 days it emerged on Friday, after research revealed that 25 per cent of university students in Cyprus feel unsafe in their romantic relationships.

The findings were a result of a study carried out by Frederick University on its own students in 2022 as part of its campaign called “Show a red card on violence in young people’s relationships”.

According to the research, one in five university students experience jealousy in their relationship and one in ten university students experience physical violence with their romantic partner.

“The main goal is to help our students recognise violence in its various forms, whether they experience it themselves, or see it happening to their friends, and to speak up and ask for help,” chairwoman of the university board Natassa Frederickou said during an event presenting the results.

One in nine students reported experiencing sexual violence, while one in four experienced emotional violence (gaslighting).

One in eight said they experienced jealousy in their relationship (stalking).

Following the results of the study, the university will hold targeted workshops for the student community in the next few months.

Frederick university is also collaborating with Spavo (the association for the prevention and handling of violence in the family) which has a helpline that can be reached at 1440.

Between November 25 until December 10, the helpline received 486 calls, translating to one call every 47 minutes. In 2022, it received 596 calls and in 2021 a total of 541 calls.

“For as long as there is gender inequality, violence against women will be our reality,” Frederickou underscored.

“We call on our academic community and society to think about what changes in our daily behaviour we need to make, what stereotypes we need to challenge so as not to contribute to the development of the problematic culture and mindset that exists and on which perpetrators rely, on which victims are silenced, and on which inequalities are nurtured, thrive and develop,” she adds.

Earlier this week, experts warned of persisting issues around gender inequality in Cyprus, including underreported sexual harassment, the fact that contraception is not available for free, and the wage gap.

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