This lack of awareness also leads to girls experiencing victim-blaming when they do eventually reach out for help.

' Teenagers will usually open up to their friends first,' explains Doireann Larkin of , an organisation that uses theatre to teach young people about healthy relationships.

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Teenagers dating older men video

Once you’re an adult it’s easy to see how a creepy grown man is for pursuing teenage girls, but adolescents just don’t have the tools or experience to identify these dangerous relationships.

And they’re not being given help to acquire them, either - the Government recently made personal social and health education (PSHE) non-compulsory.

' Many girls suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.' I personally still suffer nightmares about Jon.

I’ve also carried a lot of guilt and shame over the years about how my ‘first love’ wasn’t really loving at all.

Society’s message that your value is based on men’s views of you, and that having a boyfriend is a symbol of success, makes young girls vulnerable to seemingly-flattering attention.

Mix in a lack of awareness about what makes a healthy relationship, and you have a potent cocktail for easy exploitation. She met her ex when she was 15 and he was in his early 20s.

Me and my mates had snuck into a nightclub with the help of some dodgy ID, and I was buying a WKD blue at the bar when we got chatting.

He was absolutely gorgeous, and seemed like the coolest person I’d ever met. ' I want you as my girlfriend, 'he said, after about 15 minutes.

It’s clear that education – from as young an age as possible – is the best way to help teenagers avoid damaging relationships.

Personally, I believe I’d never have got involved with Jon if I’d been able to recognise how dodgy the situation was.

If a guy did this now, I’d be running in the opposite direction.