PARIS – A survey of 200 Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School students shows that the majority of both boys and girls who responded have been in an abusive relationship.

“For some classes I was really surprised,” said Samantha Rivers, a junior class student and Paris resident who has organized the school’s sexual assault awareness week being held next week as part of her work toward Girl Scout’s highest honor – the Gold Award.

As part of that project, Rivers conducted a teen relationship survey of 200 students – 25 boys and 25 girls in each of the four classes.

According to the results, 80 percent of the sophomore girls who answered the survey reported they had been in an abusive relationship at some time.

“They were the worst percentage,” Rivers said.

A total of 20 percent of the sophomore boys reported being in an abusive relationship.

In the freshmen class, 28 percent of the boys reported being in an abusive relationship and 64 percent of the girls reported the same.

In the junior class, 36 percent of the boys said they had been in an abusive relationship and 76 percent of the girls reported the same.

The senior class surveys showed 32 percent of the boys having experienced an abusive relationship and 76 percent of the girls.

Rivers said all of the abuse alluded to by students was emotional, not physical.

A total of 61 percent of the responders said they knew of someone who is or has been in an abusive relationship.

The 25-question survey asked about the students and their current partner or partner in a previous relationship that ranged from whether they feel unsafe around the person to whether they had ever been lied to.

Other questions included whether the partner had ever threatened to harm the student, used guilt traps by saying, “If you loved me, you would…,” told the person no one else would ever go out with him or her, or played mind games leaving the students feeling guilty or confused.

The results will be distributed to students and guidance counselors next week during sexual awareness activities that will include a performance presented by the Family Crisis Center in Portland called the “The Jake and Caroline Play.” The skit is about the dynamics of dating violence.

Rivers said the results were not overly shocking to her. “I read a statistic once that said one in three people will be in an abusive relationship in their lives,” she said.

To demonstrate that fact, Rivers said she will ask every third student to stand up in their classroom next week.


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