Teen Dating Violence is real. No matter the age, it can make life decisions even more difficult, when you are put in a situation of fear.
The first time my high school sweetheart put hands on my throat I was 17 years old. He apologized and made it very clear it wouldn’t ever happen again. Fast forward to July 2020 when that same high school sweetheart and now my husband of 18 years put those same hands around my throat and almost took my life. It took me 23 years to get brave, 23 years to know that it wasn’t love, 23 years to realize I was worth so much more. I regret never speaking up to my parents and asking for help. I do not regret my 2 beautiful boys, who are now teenagers themselves. They were subject to family violence their whole lives. What I couldn’t understand is how my then 17-year-old and 14-year-old knew that it wasn’t okay, but the 17-year-old me couldn’t understand it wasn’t okay. I know that if I had understood there was help out there, I think my decisions to get away from the situation would have been better.
I know now that I am worth more than the bruises and excuses. I am worth more than feeling second. I am worth more than lies and betrayal. I am worth more than ER visits. I am worth more than telling my children, “Dad, was just upset. I will be okay. Let’s not tell anyone this happened.” If you are a teenager and you are being hurt, know your worth, ask for help, get into a safe environment, and know that you are worth more. I hope that the abuse I took, can be turned into a positive note to help others that need to get out. Find your bravery and love yourself.
Happy doesn’t hurt nor is it supposed to. If I could only go back to 17-year-old me and give the same advice, I would have listened. Love isn’t supposed to hurt. God put me on this Earth, just as everyone else to be loved, not abused.