Teen Dating Violence: A victim's testimonial

You don’t realize you’re being abused. You tell yourself, “that’s just how he is, he can’t help it,” and everything’s okay again once he tells you he loves you. You make excuses to your friends when they question why you don’t leave him for treating you poorly. “He’ll grow up, I know he truly cares about me deep down.” But the truth is, abuse doesn’t have to be physical to hurt. And there’s never an excuse to put up with it.

I dated a guy on and off for about a year and a half. We were very young, and he didn’t have the best examples growing up for how a healthy relationship should function. I really can’t even blame him for the pain he caused me. I truly believe he didn’t know better, and blame and anger doesn’t help the healing process. He was manipulative and immature. He was addicted to pornography, like too many other young people in this day. He thought rape was funny, and he was against absolutely everything I stand for. But I thought I was in love.  I felt isolated and alone. I would spend every afternoon after school in my room in the dark, unmoving. I was so deep in a depression and I didn’t even realize it. I thought if I did the things he wanted from me, he would be kinder to me, like a good boyfriend should. But he never was. I thought I should put up with cruel treatment because I thought I was in love. I thought it was a part of life, and things would get better. One day he’d realize how horrible he was to me, and that I deserved better from him. One day, he’d be romantic and kind and it would make up for all the emotional abuse I suffered at his hand. But then he left me, like he always did. And I tried to fight to keep him, that’s how deceived I was. I don’t doubt that he’ll grow up one day, and be a better man for someone else. That person just will never be me.

It took a long time, but I got better. There are still emotional scars that need healing, but I am in awe of the progress I’ve made. I can’t even explain how it happened, but one day I simply realized that he was not worth it. No one is worth feeling that kind of pain for. Wounds heal with time, but you still have to make a commitment to yourself to never go backwards. You have to remember that you are worth more, and no person is worth perpetuating your own self-hatred.