As a survivor of the emotional and physical traumas of an abusive relationship, I join those ranks of men and women who say; “I never thought it would happen to me”. Thankfully, I have emerged from this period of my life a much stronger person with healthier views on friendship and relationships, and a dedication to helping others avoid similar situations.
I was a bright, happy high school sophomore, eager for the first dance of the school year. I danced with a cute guy and we both left hoping to see each other again soon. Later we found out that we lived around the corner from one another.
We began hanging out more and more. He was a football player; my friends and I would go to the games to cheer for him. It was so much fun to be in a new relationship. When homecoming approached, he gave me a fortune cookie with a fortune that read, “Homecoming with me?” The relationship seemed perfect and I couldn’t wait to see how it was going to progress.
He began calling all the time. It was fun spending all of my free time with him. He wouldn’t allow me to pursue my own individual activities, and I gave up a lot of myself to stay with him. His actions became controlling quickly; he always needed to know where I was and whom I was with. He began telling me who I could see and wanted to be with me at all times. My friends began to show concern about this relationship.
I was on the crew team, and didn’t party much. I would be in bed at an early hour, and he would be out partying with his friends. He would constantly call at crazy hours in the night, and get furious if I didn’t answer the phone. Since I had to wake up at four o’clock every morning, he would always call me before practice because he wanted to be the first person to talk to me everyday. It was beginning to get a little much.
During break one day at school I decided to hide from him knowing he was drunk and out of control. I hid near my Spanish class and kept ignoring his calls. He found me minutes later and threw me against the lockers. He told me, “You will never be able to hide from me, so don’t even try.” I tried to run away and go to Spanish but he slammed me into the classroom door.
My teacher “didn’t notice” and acted like nothing happened. Word got around and he got called into the office. He was suspended for three days….. For being drunk on campus. No punishment for his violence towards me.
Flowers can make a girl feel special. This boy was my life, we spent all of our time together and I had already lost so many friends because of this relationship. If I broke up with him I would have to explain to everyone why I had stayed with him for as long as I did, explain why I finally broke up with him and I wasn’t ready to explain that to anyone. Nobody would understand; they only saw his public persona. I forgave him and decided to give him one more shot.
The pivotal moment in my relationship came while at a party and he kicked me so hard that I was knocked unconscious. Everyone at the party was too afraid to call an ambulance or an adult, because my boyfriend was under-age and intoxicated. I was unconscious for six hours with a severe concussion and sustained two bruised ribs. In the morning I told my parents about my unhealthy relationship; my mom called the police. He was sent to Juvenile Hall.
Monday morning this was the talk of the school. Everyone was upset with me, not him, and felt I had gone too far in calling the police. Things were unbearable at school for the next few weeks. My house was egged repeatedly and the final straw was when I was physically threatened by his best friend. I left my high school that day and didn’t return.
During the next two weeks, while searching for a new school, I spent a lot of time volunteering at my temple where I felt safe and loved. I was surrounded by wonderful, supportive people I have known my whole life. As a result of my recent experiences, I decided I wanted to research and learn more about relationship abuse, domestic violence, and available support networks.
For the past six years I have been “speaking out” and really feel I am making a difference. My healing process was greatly impacted due to my decision to tell this story.
I have come to realize what a significant problem teenage dating violence is, and am making an effort to try and help teens understand what a healthy relationship looks like.