I was listening to the news this morning and I heard something interesting; Some research had been done into girls getting pregnant because older men were pressuring them to have a baby. I turned it up. I know a similar story.  I know some other young mums who do too. But it's rarely spoken about. Sometimes it's more subtle. Sometimes the power imbalance is harder to put you finger on. Sometimes the 'having a baby' bit isn't said explicitly. But ultimately they know that having a baby is another reason for you not to leave. I've tried to mention it to those that work with young mums but they brush it off, they don't recognise it. Most the dads they see are young and vulnerable too. So I assumed my story, and stories of the young mums I know, are so uncommon that they don't need to be heard. It's so uncommon it's not worth addressing, not when there are so many other issues. I'm not so stupid that I think every young mum is the same as me.

Then on the news they said that 78% of young women who get pregnant are pressured to have a baby by older men - 78%??? WTF???!!! As soon as I got home I searched for the article. The actual statistic was that 78% of fathers are older than the teenage mother.... whoop-de-woo-that means nothing! 10% are apparently over 25 but even then we have no clue how many are being 'pressured'. I was hoping for some proper research, something a bit more robust! Even if it was only 1% of cases, It would at least be some acknowledgment that it happens. The focus of the article then turns to teenage fathers and the lack of support that they get....So actually there is no new story here - or at least not the one I thought.

The fact that those who work with young parents aren't seeing this at all doesn't actually surprise me. When you have a controlling partner they actively stop you getting support, they stop you speaking to anyone who they think may influence you, anyone who they think might turn you against them, or show you a way out. It's their main form of control.  It's not ok to say we don't see it.

So maybe this is just my story - maybe it doesn't mean much in the scale of things. But when we talk about supporting the 'hard to reach' - I just wonder how hard you're really trying.