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The Challenger

Love the way you lie

Abusive relationships are brought into spotlight as students share their traumatic experiences

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Love the way you lie

Lily Smith, Co-editor in chief

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(*All names in this story have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.)

You see the hand holding and the laughter in a relationship, but you may not know the truth until you hear the rude comments or see the bruises.

Abusive relationships are not restricted to any gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or neighborhood. Abuse does not discriminate and is not limited to romantic relationships.

Seniors Tiffany* and Mia* have both been on the receiving side of different kinds of abusive relationships. Tiffany began to date her friend Chad* about two years ago, after they met through mutual friends and interests.

“We were good friends, so it had a lot of friendship, but there was the intimate side of the relationship,” Tiffany said.

Soon after their relationship began, Tiffany started to notice Chad getting angry at her all the time.

“When I first noticed it started getting bad, it turned from the happy, best friends kind of thing to arguing 24/7. There was rarely a moment of happiness. There was just always a problem with something,” Tiffany said. “I knew that I shouldn’t fear my boyfriend.”

Mia also noticed a problem she had with a friend of hers. Everyone in her friend group had problems with one person but she got the brunt of the abuse.

“No one knew how bad it was until after it was over,” Mia said.

Statistics show that many (physical and emotional) abusive relationships, romantic or otherwise, go generally unreported over fear of judgement or the abuser. According to loveisrespect.org, only 33 percent of teens in violent relationships told anyone about the abuse.

“When a teen says ‘I was in a mentally abusive relationship’ people see it as being overdramatic because mentally abusive relationships aren’t as ‘important’ or as ‘big of a deal’ as physically abusive relationships, I felt like everyone would think I was being overdramatic,” Mia said. “I guess I was kind of scared, and I still am.”

Abusive relationships leave scars on the abused whether they can be physically seen or not.

“Emotional abuse can be just as serious as physical abuse and should be paid attention to because just because you can’t see the abuse doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” Tiffany said.

The most important thing to take away from abusive relationships is knowing the warning signs of them and how to keep yourself or your loved ones safe if danger is prevalent. Signs can range from put downs to physically hurting you, taking your social media passwords, unwanted touching or (attempted) rape, denying you access to your money, and stalking.

“At the time I was also struggling with really bad self esteem issues and he often would bring me down about myself and say things like ‘You can’t wear that’ or ‘Why do you have no makeup on?’ or ’Is that really what you’re going to wear?’” Tiffany said. “Just little things that didn’t help with the fact that I was trying to convince myself of how beautiful I was,”

People coming out of abusive relationships may have issues trusting people, romantically, platonically or even their loved ones. It can shake a person’s confidence in themselves and in others’ intentions.

“Romantically, I don’t trust anybody. I can’t believe anything when it comes to boys telling me stuff and I’m ultimately scared to get into romantic relationship and I wish that wasn’t the case,” Mia said. “I’m scared to talk to my friends, I’m scared to talk to my mom and I’m scared to tell anyone,”

Abuse can leave a person with a sense of self-doubt like no other. In this time (and even when the abuse is still happening) it’s extremely important to seek help from family, friends and professionals trained to help people out of abusive relationships and with what comes next.

“Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of it if my friends didn’t intervene. Ultimately, my friend recognized the signs, she said ‘You can’t keep doing this, you can’t be in that kind of relationship, you don’t deserve someone like this’ and she helped me put an end to it,” Mia said.

Today, both girls are doing better.

“I’m good now, I’m strong and independent,” Tiffany said.

But there will still be things that drag both of them down. Life post-abuse is an uphill battle and both of them will still have healing scars for the rest of their lives.

“I wish I would’ve known that it wasn’t my fault,” Mia said.

 

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Love the way you lie