Column: Teen Domestic Violence Awareness

February 11, 2018 | 1 Comment

Tina Laws Bermuda Oct 2017[Written by Tina Laws]

It’s 3:29pm on a sunny Monday afternoon. My homework is packed away in my bag, motorcycle keys in hand, jacket already on and zipped up and my helmet is under my desk. It’s 3:30pm, the dismissal bell rings, and I am the first one out of the classroom door.

As I pass my friends in the hallway, I wave goodbye, and swiftly head towards the parking lot. I approach my motorcycle to find my dating partner, Chase sitting on my bike waiting for me. Although happy to see him, I notice that he is wearing a straight face as though something was wrong.

So, instead of asking him what was wrong, I act as if I don’t notice his expression. I give him a hug and tell him how much I missed him throughout the day. What happens over the next 2 hours, is extremely draining, degrading, and a total waste of our time together. Why do I stay?

As I am about to start my motorcycle engine, Chase takes a deep breathe, and he said, “You are all about yourself.” Confused, I say, “babe, what’s wrong now?” In the midst of his responding to me, one of my school buddies and friend, John, stopped and said, “Hey Chase, she talked about you all day, you got her whipped.” Chase, nods his head and says, “Yeah right, I don’t feel it.”

For the entire ride to his house, I found myself kissing up to him. I said things like, babe, I love your new sneakers, and how stylish his attire looked. I even tried telling him that girls are jealous of our relationship, and how happy I was to be his wifey. Chase was in total silence for the entire ride. We arrived at his house, off the bike he goes leaving me sitting. He walked into the house and shuts the door in my face. Huh, I am really confused by this time because we was laughing and talking last night before hanging up from our telephone conversation. That’s cool, I used the time outside to order our favorite pizza. That should put a smile on his face.

As soon as I reached the porch, he opened the door and said, “If you are planning to come into my house, you better tell me what I want to know.” With a chuckle, I said, boy, go inside and let’s have some fun before its time for me to go home. Having fun for Chase, means playing “FIFA” on the PlayStation. As we sat on his couch, and began the first game, he asked, “So, how close are you and John really?”

Again, confused, I reminded him of the previous conversations about John, and that he is my fathers’ godson; and that we was raised like brother and sister. By this time, I am feeling humiliated because he has accused me of having an intimate relationship with John in the past. Chase, has also accused me of having intimate relations with other individuals. This is also untrue. Why do I stay?

By this time, the pizza delivery man is knocking at the door carrying our favorite pizza, topped with pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, extra sauce, cheese and a large sprite. Surprised, Chase opened the door to receive the pizza with a smile on his face. I remember thinking, perfect, he is smiling. We ate, drank and played the game for the next hour. Now it’s time to leave, Chase challenges me to prove how much I love him. He asked that I show him my telephone contacts and previous WhatsApp messages between John and I as he did not believe John viewed me as a sister.

I am now back to square one, feeling humiliated and disrespected. After viewing all of my contacts and WhatsApp messages with everyone listed in my phone, Chase decided that the boys had to be deleted. By this time, my best friend Jessica calls to tell me that she believed Chase to be in a relationship with Tiffany; a girl in her dance class. I decided to erase all of the boys contact details in front of Chase and proceeded to ask him about Tiffany. He immediately became enraged and called me every name the vocabulary can make up. I stormed out of his house crying, and started my journey home. For the remainder of the night, Chase left my WhatsApp messages on unread. After school the next day, I returned to my motorcycle to find Chase holding a bunch of flowers and wearing a huge grin. Why do I say?

February is the National Teen Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and according to U.S statistics, there are 1.5 million teenagers nationwide being affected yearly by physical abuse alone, of a dating partner. It is also noted that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their teens about domestic violence. Many teens are of the opinion that if their dating partner is not physically attacking them, then they are not being abused.

Teen dating violence represents emotional, verbal, sexual, digital, financial, religious and physical abuse. There are many forms of abuse that one may not detect if they are not being educated about it. Domestic violence is often spoken of as an adult issue, however it is important to note that teenagers are also being abused by their dating partner daily.

Our teens matter! Under Konstruction believes that together, we can change our communities approach to addressing domestic violence. Domestic violence is happening and will continue to happen in silence if we continue to push it underneath the rug. Education is key! Let’s make some noise as we raise a greater awareness around teenage dating violence. Unfortunately, there is no one answer, or individual person that will combat domestic violence. However, as a community, if we speak up often and loud enough, we can help eradicate the silence. We are in this together!

Under Konstruction is currently running a teen girls program called “Uniquely Kept” all are welcomed between the ages 13-17 years. To find out more about this program, contact us at tina@underkonstruction.org or view here to register for our upcoming March start date.

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  1. St.David's says:

    Reading this broke my heart. You could feel the chains wrapping around, light at first. Not to end well.

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