Hi I’m Amanda and I’m a domestic violence survivor.
I experienced domestic violence when I was teen. And this is my story.
I was young and in love, or what I thought was love.
We had started out as friends. And he was a great friend to me. We chatted online all the time talking about our problems and feelings. We seemed to have really connected with each other.
Eventually we became a couple when we were both 14 years old, the summer before we both entered high school. He was my first official boyfriend so everything in this relationship was new to me.
So, I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong in a relationship. I thought what I felt was love and in the beginning our relationship was great and he made me feel like a princess. However, over time things began to change. It didn’t happen overnight, it happened gradually.
One of the first instances of my abuser exercising his control over me happened when I had a two week orientation for my high school that summer. He didn’t mind if I talked to other guys as long as I didn’t talk to one guy in particular. I agreed to this beforehand thinking it wasn’t a big deal. Of course, the first day of orientation the one person I talk to and make friends with happens to be this guy. I didn’t realize this until a few days later when my abuser spotted me talking to this guy. My abuser pulled me away angrily telling me I wasn’t supposed to be talking to him. As he yelled at me in front of everyone he forbade me from talking to this guy. He was absolutely furious that I had disobeyed him. I did think his reaction was a bit ridiculous but I obliged and distanced myself from this new guy friend of mine. I thought since he was my boyfriend it was normal for him to be jealous and make a request like that.
Yet soon this one guy I couldn’t talk to turned into every guy including my friends that were guys and even the friends of my abuser. One time at the mall a friend of his talked to me while my abuser was walking up to us. My abuser quickly appeared in front of us and punched him in the face. It was the first time I saw him get violent with anyone and I can’t say it didn’t frighten me. I soon lost any guy friends I had because I stopped talking to them in fear that he would hurt them if I did. Soon he didn’t even want me talking to any of my friends at all, he wanted me to be with him at all times, talking to him at all times.
That summer I made the mistake of letting a friend of mine show my abuser where I lived with my mom. My mom worked late so I was left home alone a lot. This allowed my abuser to show up at my front door anytime he wanted. There were many times I told him he couldn’t come over but I’d come home and he would be waiting for me at my front door ready to make a scene if I didn’t let him in.
Behind closed doors he was able to persuade me and pressure me into doing things I didn’t willing want to do. But, this being my first relationship I thought this was normal and I had started to care for him with what I thought was love so I did what he wanted so I wouldn’t lose him. He had manipulated me into thinking anytime he was upset, or something bad happened, it was all my fault.
When high school started he wanted me to be around him anytime I wasn’t in class. He memorized my class schedule so he could walk with me between the 5 minutes we had to change classes. While I thought this was sweet at first it soon became another way to control me. Anytime I tried to walk a different way he would find me and pinch my skin until it hurt and I walked with him.
When I was at home I had to be online and chatting with him while I did my homework or on the phone with him whenever I wasn’t at school or online. I racked up a hefty phone bill because he wanted me to sleep with my cellphone on so he could hear me sleep. He needed to know where I was and what I was doing 24/7.
When I couldn’t be on the phone with him or online he would text me until I answered or called him. His non-stop texts were a big deal at the time because unlimited texting wasn’t a normal thing yet so he knew every text he sent would cost me money.
I officially broke up with him a couple months into the school year because he caused me so much stress on top of the stressful program I was in for my high school. I remember crying because it was hard to break it off and he begged me not to leave him but I saw how happy it made everyone to see me do it including my parents and best friends. That first break-up was for everyone but myself.
This breakup didn’t last long because he would call me crying and switch between telling me he would kill everyone I loved or kill himself if I didn’t get back with him. The fear tactics he used on me worked and I soon got back with him under the conditions that nobody would know we were together.
We broke up and got back together a lot. Every break up he would use my love for others as a way to keep me with him and it’s a huge reason I didn’t end things for good. I was scared of what he would do to the people I loved.
I was not as scared for myself. It’s why I let him come into my house whenever he wanted. It was harder to fight him to leave especially when he threatened harm to my friends and family. When I would fight back and argue against him it would result in head-butting, getting choked, or even getting pushed down the stairs. There was one time I tried to break things off with him in my home and he held a knife up to his own throat telling me he’d kill himself if I didn’t take him back and he quickly put it against my throat when that protest didn’t work.
Don’t worry. This story has a happy ending as you can see I am standing here before you today.
It wasn’t an easy ending. Our final and ultimate breakup was near the end of my freshman year of high school. We had a huge and public fight at school next to my bus to go home. He had forbidden to go to a concert for one of my favorite bands. A band whose music kept me afloat during this stressful and emotional time. I spoke up and said I wasn’t going to listen to him. He told me I’d suffer the consequences if I went as he pinned me against the chain link fence in front of my bus for everyone inside to see. I remember crying my eyes out that he wouldn’t leave me alone and I didn’t understand why everyone stood by as he hurt me. It was in that moment I knew I was the only one who could break myself free of his control.
I ended up going to that concert and he threatened to destroy me. He told me I’d pay for what I did and he’d hurt those I loved. I stood my ground this time. I changed my phone number. Luckily my mom and I had moved to a new place and he didn’t know the new address. So, he couldn’t just show up at our front door. I told my mom about his death threats and she assured me he couldn’t hurt her or my father. At school I made sure I was always around a friend or near a teacher so he couldn’t grab me and hurt me.
It wasn’t easy to stay away from him but as a month went by he soon left me alone and stopped trying to contact me online.
I was lucky things worked out for me and I was able to break free of my abusive relationship.
However, there are nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide who experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year. And not all of them survive it. I just hope that my story and this event today can help that number go down. Please, educate yourself and your family on the signs of abuse and the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships.