In 8th grade I dated a girl in my class. When we were dating, she didn’t want me to talk to other girls, or even my friends. If we got in arguments in texts, she would tell me she was going to cut herself, unless I did what she told me to. She pressured me into doing things I didn’t feel comfortable with, and when I finally had enough, I broke up with her. She told me she was going to kill herself if I didn’t come back to her, so I did for a while. After another few weeks of her threats, I couldn’t take it any longer. When I broke up with her again, she started telling the kids at school that I raped her, and assaulted her. She knew that my dad had assaulted my mom, and that would really hurt me to hear her say those things. She also made a false police report telling the police I was going to shoot up our school. The night before my freshman year, my mom and I were in the police station until 1 am being interrogated. She continued to spread rumors about me throughout the school, and made a lot of the other kids hate me. I thought about killing myself after she compared me to my dad, because I didn’t want people to look at me that way. I am nothing like him.
I have a great counselor and a supportive family. I do not let her words hurt me now. I have a great group of friends and go to school feeling confident.
Tommy did not want to use his real name, or show his face. He is 15, and he is a survivor. Like many people who find themselves in domestic violence situations, Tommy grew up in a home where he witnessed his father brutally beat his mother. He was not free from his father’s abuse either. Tommy has PTSD due to the events he witnessed, and the abuse he endured. He stated he feels this was why he ended up with the girl who used manipulation to control him. He said he did not realize he deserved better. He thought that was how relationships were. The girl still tries to bully him at school, but he has found his strength, and he knows what she does is about her, and not him. He knows he deserves to be treated with respect. He knows he is nothing like his father.
Thank you, Tommy, for sharing your story, and for reminding us domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, or age. Your story is powerful, and I am grateful you are alive to tell it. You are strong. You are brave. You are a survivor.