As a young teen, she watched her best friend date boys who were clearly abusive. “No matter how many times I told her that she deserved better, she always said she loved them and couldn’t leave.” She chalked up her friend’s series of troubled relationships to having “bad taste in men.”
But then the current college student admitted that her own “taste in men” hasn’t been so great. After dating two abusive boyfriends, including one who raped her, she did some soul-searching and looked back at her family history. “My grandmother grew up with an alcoholic father and was later in a financially controlling relationship until they divorced when my mother was four. She then married an abusive drunk who repeatedly physically assaulted her and sometimes her children.” The history didn’t stop there.
“My mother married my father when she was three months pregnant. My father was a very heavy drinker. He gambled behind my mom’s back, disappeared for days at a time, and often became violent. He hit my mother, chased my younger sister and I around the house, and yelled and screamed at us. I hid my sister in my closet and locked the door. I could hear my mother screaming to call 911. She was struggling to speak and I knew she was being strangled. I don’t remember what happened after the police arrived. I went to the closet to console my sister.”
After the second abusive boyfriend, the young woman shed her rose-colored glasses. “When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.” Now she recognizes the cyclic nature of domestic violence. Her mother and grandmother are now in happy and healthy relationships, and the difference is obvious to her. “I can see what that is supposed to look like, and hopefully my sister will not follow our bad paths. One generation can stop the cycle.”
When her friend dealt with abuse, she was only fourteen, and was too frightened to intervene. “With my current experience and knowledge, I would have called someone to help her. Despite the fear of what may happen it is always best to get help for you or someone else if domestic violence is present.”
And she has some advice for other girls and women. “If your family and friends mention that this isn’t the best relationship for you, please, please, please consider that they may be right!”