DALLAS – Oct. 30, 2017 – As digital dating abuse emerges as an epidemic among young people, the need for education and intervention is also on the rise.  Today, Mary Kay released more data from its eighth annual Truth About Abuse Survey revealing that 89% of young people are confident they know what a healthy relationship looks like and yet, 68% have actually experienced digital dating abuse.  As young people navigate the complex combination of today’s dating scene alongside social media, the new survey provides insight on gaps in resources and education.

“It’s apparent from this year’s Truth About Abuse Survey that knowledge is key when it comes to young people standing up to digital dating abuse,” said Kirsten Gappelberg, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability for Mary Kay Inc.  “As a steadfast and committed corporate leader in the fight against domestic violence, we continually look for ways to educate and empower young people because everyone deserves to have a healthy relationship – in the real world and the digital world.” 

The survey revealed surprising results about the widespread, yet underreported epidemic:

  • More education needed: 82% of young people said they need more information to talk to friends about digital dating abuse.
  • Get the right help: experts agree that confronting an abuser can put a victim in danger, yet nearly 1 in 4 (22%) young people incorrectly believe that talking to a friend’s partner is an effective way to intervene.  
  • Social influence: 42% report that they learn about healthy relationships from entertainment and news media. 
  • Intervention: 95% say they would want to intervene if a friend experienced digital dating abuse. 

While the vast majority of young people report they want to help, they often hesitate. The top reasons include:

  • They would be concerned they were overreacting (37%)
  • They wouldn’t know what to say (29%)
  • They fear hurting their friendship (28%)
  • They wouldn’t want to hurt feelings or embarrass their friends (27%)

“While we work tirelessly every day to provide teens and young adults with tools and resources to recognize dating abuse, the results from Mary Kay’s survey provides validation that young people need more education to feel comfortable intervening or getting the right help,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “As technology evolves, so must domestic violence advocates in our prevention and education efforts.”

The 2017 survey is part of Mary Kay’s Don't Look Away campaign which works to educate the public on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship, how to take action and to raise awareness for support services. In partnership with Wakefield Research, 1,000 young people ages 13-24 nationwide participated in the survey as a representation of America’s young population. Mary Kay is also the lead sponsor of the nation’s first-ever text-based helpline operated by loveisrespect. By simply texting ‘loveis’ to 22522, teens and young adults are safely and discretely connected to trained peer advocates who provide support, safety tips and referrals for their own relationships or a friend’s. To date, Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation℠ have given $57 million to domestic violence prevention and awareness programs in an effort to end the cycle of abuse. 

About Mary Kay

At Mary Kay, success lies in our dedication to irresistible products, a rewarding opportunity and positive community impact.  For more than 54 years, Mary Kay has inspired women to achieve their entrepreneurial goals in nearly 40 countries.  As a multibillion-dollar company, we offer the latest in cutting-edge skin care, bold color cosmetics and fragrances. Discover more reasons to love Mary Kay at marykay.com.