Whittlesea CALD Communities Family Violence Research Report 2012 - Page 34

33 The second scenario involved a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. The boyfriend was described as persistently texting and phoning his girlfriend, checking her whereabouts, demanding to know where she was at all times and putting her down. Both groups were asked to discuss: ? ? ? ? ? ? whether this was an example of a healthy relationship and why or why not; what the boy’s friends could say or do to help the situation; what the girl’s friends should say if she came to them for help; what the girl should do if her boyfriend’s behaviour continued; whether the girl should tell someone what is happening and who; whether the girl may be afraid to tell someone and why. Both groups recognised that this was not an example of a healthy relationship. Girls Group The girls group did not immediately recognise that the boyfriend’s behaviour could be classified as ‘controlling’ and they did not equate this type of behaviour with ‘stalking’ or ‘violence.’ Rather the girls group said the relationship was unhealthy because the boyfriend didn’t know his girlfriend’s whereabouts and this was ‘bad’ and she may be ‘cheating on him’ without his knowledge. When asked what the girl should do the girls group emphasised ways in which she could change her behaviour to make her boyfriend feel more secure, including talking to him about where she goes and who she usually hangs out with as well as suggesting that he meet with her friends so he knows who she is spending time with. The girls group also said that the boyfriend’s mates should tell him to ‘get over her,’ ‘get another girl’ and stop worrying too much about her. One girl said that the problem with this was that he might do the same thing to another girl. With some prompting the girls recognised that it was unreasonable for a boyfriend to expect his girlfriend to stop seeing her male friends altogether. They also said that if the boyfriend’s behaviour continued even after the girl had spoken to him then she might consider breaking up with him. The girls group suggested that the girl confide in a school counsellor or her parents if she was having trouble resolving the situation. The girls were aware that outside of school there was also counselling available and they suggested that the girl could talk to other family and friends and even contact police or a lawyer (‘like in law & order’) if the situation got really bad. The girls group raised fears that might prevent the girl from confiding in someone as: embarrassment, worrying about what other people might think (e.g. disapproval over boyfriend/girlfriend relationships), worrying about what her boyfriend might think or do if he found out. Boys Group The boys group were better able to recognise that the boyfriend’s behaviour in the scenario was controlling and abusive. (This is possibly due to the fact that the boys group were slightly older than the girls group) The boys group stated that the relationship was not healthy because there was a lack of trust and communicat