Abuse in Teen Relationships: Is your teen crying silently?
The issue of teen abuse is not one that immediately pops into mind for most of us when we discuss domestic violence. Until November 2006, I was one who might have believed that it didn't exist, at least not in my world.
The morning I received a phone call informing me that my younger cousin, who was seventeen at the time, had been raped by her ex-boyfriend, is one that I'll never forget. 2006 had already claimed the life of my maternal grandmother, and I didn't want to imagine that things could get any worse in our family. But low and behold, we had yet another travesty to deal with, leaning on the arms of God's mercy and love for strength that only He could deliver.
My heart broke into a million pieces when I saw my cousin. I thanked God that she was alive and not seriously bruised externally, but the fear and pain I saw in her eyes nearly stopped the rhythmic beating of my heart as it filled with just a portion of what she was feeling. I didn't know her pain personally but knowing and loving her is what caused my eyes to fill with tears.
I sat with her at the hospital waiting for them to call her back to do the rape kit. I listened to the question and answer session between her and the detective. Every answer angered me as my heart continued to break and my blood boiled. I wanted to find the aggressor before the police did. Not only had he raped her at knife-point but he took off with their one-year old son and
was nowhere to be found.
Over and over I asked myself, when did teens start having these type issues? Shouldn't she be at school taking a test and preparing for her graduation? Why are we here at the hospital? And the most nagging question of all was why-why didn't she come to us the first time he hit her? Why did she allow the abuse to continue only to have him rape her when she finally got
out of the relationship?
Parents, I urge you to talk to your sons and daughters because domestic violence in teen relationships is real. For my cousin, it started with verbal abuse. He belittled her and broke down her self-esteem. He made her feel sorry for him, filling her head and heart with lies that he could not endure life without her. She felt obliged to be there for him for fear he'd kill himself
otherwise and that was guilt she didn't want to face.
The verbal abuse soon escalated to physical abuse and more threats to harm himself if she left. When she finally found the courage to leave, a decision that was clearly in the best interest of her son and herself, he didn't kill himself; he instead lashed out at her, taking from her something that a woman should only willingly give to a man.
My cousin is now in college. She is a single parent who works part-time, and even though she doesn't talk much about her experience, I know that it still weighs heavily on her mind. I also know that by the grace of God, this too shall pass.
I have a website set up for my cousin where copies of Somebody Prayed for Me, which features her story "Silent Cries", will be sold. All profit from sales go to my cousin, towards her education and her son. The website address is http://www.shakestawest.webs.com/
Authored by Linda R. Herman