Learning to take all the silence out of the voilence

Alexia Harris

I couldn’t wait until I was able to go to high school.

I attended a private high school during my freshman year. There was no selection of guys to talk to or even consider giving them two seconds of my time. I hated it.

My sophomore year I transferred to a public school and loved every bit of it.

I couldn’t wait to check out all of the guys there and see which one I wanted to claim.

Immediately, I took interest in a guy. We’ll call him “Lewis.”

Lewis was a couple years older than me, and since I had an upperclassman by my side, I thought I was hot stuff.

Lewis was loud, rude and funny, which for some strange reason, made him very attractive. He was also a jock, and it felt good knowing that so many girls wanted MY man.

In the beginning, Lewis was so sweet and would put his coat over a puddle to keep my feet dry. But his charm did not last long.

Since he was older than me, he thought I was a young girl who could be easily manipulated, and that no matter what he did or how he treated me, I would still be by his side.

He soon became possessive and abusive. He thought he owned me and, although I yearned for his acceptance, I could tolerate being his punching bag or step stool. That was something I would not stand for.

I was naive, and I didn’t know how to say no.

Yet, I still wanted to be with him. I wanted to be known as his girlfriend. But, he was not for that girlfriend talk. To Lewis, I was his “main,” which meant I would come first, but he still had his girls on the side.

When I finally got the nerve to leave him, he became enraged. We were in the lunchroom, and he grabbed me and began to choke me.

I was scared to stay with him, but I was also afraid to leave him. I felt like I was stuck with nowhere to run.

I didn’t want to tell anybody because I didn’t want him to get mad. I couldn’t even confide in my mother because I wasn’t supposed to have a boyfriend in the first place. I was alone.

It wasn’t until he left for college two years later that I was able to call it quits.

After my relationship with Lewis, I promised myself never to let another man treat me like trash.

But, my next two relationships were just like the first, maybe worse. I would get in physical fights with my boyfriends, be called all types of names and was cut off from my friends.

What people fail to realize is that adults and married couples are not the only ones who experience dating and domestic violence. Teen dating violence is very common.

According to the Bureau of Justice, women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence.

It took a while for me to understand that I was not the cause of the violence. I now know that no matter how hard you try, you can’t change someone.

Kent State provides many resources that can be an outlet for help — the Women’s Resource Center, the DeWeese Health Center, Psychological Services. If you’re not ready to leave, or are scared to leave, sometimes it helps to just talk to someone who knows where you are coming from.

Don’t keep the violence silent. Tell someone.

Alexia Harris is a junior public relations major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].