Ballymena pupil Courtney Mclaughlin, 16, was spurred into action after she saw first-hand the effects of emotional abuse on a friend.
So she teamed up with Fixers, the charity that gives young people a voice, to create a short film showing that controlling behaviour doesn’t just have physical signs.
The film ‘Coercive Control’, which has had more than 1,000 views on YouTube, is available to watch here.
The fictional film portrays a number of different scenarios which demonstrate controlling behaviour, and ends with the slogan ‘you don’t have to get hit to get hurt. Emotional abuse is abuse.’
Courtney says: “Our project is to show people what’s meant by coercive control and to show that emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse.
Louise O’Kane, Young Person Service’s Manager at Women’s Aid, is in support of Courtney’s campaign and plans to share the film.
Louise says: “Sadly, a lot of victims will say that the physical abuse is the easy bit and that emotional and coercive control is as damaging, as hurtful and as frightening to live with.
“The different types of coercion may be harassment, brainwashing and restricting daily activities.”
The group have been sharing the film online and through going into schools such as Slemish College, Ballymena.
Head teacher Dr Paul McHugh said: “This film is yet another fantastic Fixer resource that deals very well with a very serious issue. I am happy to be able to add it to the already long list of Fixers resources available to my staff to use when appropriate and look forward to the list growing in future.
“The young people responsible for this film are to be commended highly!”
Courtney said: “I hope that anyone in this sort of relationship will report it or talk to an adult or someone that they trust.
“You shouldn’t be bottling this up. It’s really a really serious matter.”
Fixers works with young people aged 16-25 across the UK and provides them with resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.
The charity has helped more than 18,000 youngsters across the UK to have a voice in their community.
Fixers aims to work with more than 70,000 young people by 2020 and to do this needs to raise funds.
Visit www.fixers.org.uk for more information.