Victim of domestic violence speaks out


Ever since childhood, girls grow up believing that men are going to be the ones to provide them with all the things they need in their life. This mindset has originated from books and movies like Disney’s Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

Most children grow up believing this is the way life should be, myself being one of them.

Juliana Russo
Juliana Russo

However, as time went on, I started to see that my father was not at all like the princes I watched save their true loves from tall towers. It confused me and made me think there was something wrong with me. It is hard to admit, but the way my father has acted toward me has innately influenced who I have let myself become involved with.

Most victims, like myself, feel confused, frustrated and fearful after something abusive has been said. James Garbarino, a national expert on emotional abuse, says that a persistent, chronic pattern of abuse that “erodes and corrodes a child” is truly harmful. Abusers try to maintain dominance and control over situations with their words, which leads victims to think they must try harder to be accepted. It takes time, self-reflection and professional help to realize that no one deserves to be verbally abused.

In order for me to realize that I do not deserve to be a victim of abuse my entire life, I had to have someone’s life flash before eyes.

The ending of my last relationship led up to the most traumatic experience a 20-year-old should never even have to imagine facing. When I began seeing a boy in my extended friend group, I thought the outcome would be drastically different. I truly believed that he was finally the one I had been waiting for––someone who would treat me right.

Looking back, there were many warning signs and similarities between him and my past relationships.

The first warning sign was when he told me he never saw himself being in a relationship with me ever. Other signs I should have recognized were his extreme expressions of jealousy and obsessive behaviors.

After a couple of months, I started to believe the manipulative relationship I was stuck in was what I deserved. The day that changed my entire perspective on relationships, and life in general, began with me expressing my uneasiness about how this boy had treated me the night before. I told my friend how manipulative he had been, and that I could sense he was going to do something crazy.

My senses were right, because later that night after meeting a nice boy through a mutual friend, I watched him get assaulted by the boy who had told me the night before I had attachment problems. The innocent boy was attacked while I was getting curse words directed at me. Our two mutual friends accompanied him and joined in on the attack.

The outcome of the attack for the boy was both physical and mental damage. For me, it was primarily mental. However, since the attack, I have grown as a person and with the help of my counselor I know I will never accept being verbally abused again.

My mind is still not at ease even after these boys have begun facing the consequences of their actions. I don’t think it will be until I know that the boy who did this gets better so he will never act in such a way again. If this had not happened to me, it would have to another girl. Although most girls will not be in a verbally abusive relationship that ends in such a way, it can happen.

If I had known that accepting the way my father treated me would have led up to this incident, I would not have hesitated to seek professional help way back when. Abuse is never the victim’s fault, and no one deserves to be treated in such damaging ways.

One in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a partner. Instead of being one of those three––say something, put a stop to the cycle and seek professional help. In the end, it will be worth it.

Need help? Contact the Center for Counseling & Student Development on campus at (302) 831-2141 or stop by the office in Room 261 of the Perkins Student Center.

A version of this post appeared in the print edition of The Review on May 13, 2014 headlined “Victim of domestic violence speaks out.”

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