(The survivor has granted permission for her story to be published on this blog.)
It didn’t start off bad. We met last year in February, when I was 19 years old. He tried to pursue a relationship with me for seven months and I gave him a rough time. He was known and very popular on our college campus, but he wasn’t my type. In July he finally won me over and we started dating. At that time I was a virgin, I wanted to wait for that special person. But, he was very persuasive, and I ended up losing my virginity to him. During that time, I was very stressed. I was pledging for a sorority, working and school stressed me out. He wasn’t sensitive to my feelings and we began to argue a lot. The first time he became sexually aggressive was the last week of August. We were having sex and it was extremely painful; when I told him that it hurt and he needed to stop, he didn’t listen. Instead, he pinned me down and told me to take it. The pain was so excruciating that I started crying.
Afterwards, he got up and left. I was in so much pain I couldn’t get up the entire day. Because he was my boyfriend, I made excuses, I told myself that he really loved me and he didn’t mean to do it. Even after that first incident he continued being aggressive with me, especially when I didn’t want to have sex with him. It became an everyday norm. He would constantly throw me against the wall, and physically and verbally abuse me. One time he even locked me in my bathroom and took off my clothes. I begged him to stop but he put my face in my robe to muffle my screams. This kind of abuse continued for a long time. He was my first and I thought he loved me so I continued making excuses for him.
Eventually, I found out that he was cheating and lying to me about several things. I had a friend who was a criminal justice major who I confided in, and he made me realize that my boyfriend was abusing me. When I heard that, I broke down. I had been trying to avoid it, I was in denial, but I knew he was right. My grades were slipping, I couldn’t work or pledge my sorority, and I ended up having an emotional breakdown on campus. My coworker and boss told me to take time off and leave, and that’s what I did. I took time off from work and withdrew from my university. After I withdrew from school, I was notified that my boyfriend had done the same thing to two other girls. I was able to get in contact with them and got them to report their stories to the university police like I did. They were more than willing to help. We opened a case against him in which we won, and consequently, he was banned from campus.
I’m telling my story because people don’t realize the effects of dating violence. A lot of guys downplay their actions and say girls ask for it. In my situation, I felt like I was being blamed for his actions, especially by complete strangers and his friends. But today, I know it’s not my fault, and I don’t take responsibility for his actions. I’ll be going back to school next semester, and I’ll be starting a Teen Dating Violence group on campus. I’ve already talked to many girls who are in the same position that I was, but they’re too afraid to speak up. I just want to let other girls know that they are not the only ones going through this, and that there is help and a way out.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. To learn more about teen dating violence, visit here. If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the numbers provided below for help or more information:
Houston Area Women’s Center 24/7 Hotline: 713-528-2121
*If outside of the greater Houston area, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)