I was the girl who would say with pride that I would never let anyone, especially a boyfriend, hit me. He opened up to me immediately sharing the struggles with his family life growing up. He told me how his father was abusive to his mother and he hated him for it.I knew that it existed in the world and I knew it was bad if it happened, but I had no idea it was called Domestic Violence, and I definitely had no idea how deeply dangerous, manipulative, gradual and lonely being abused was, until I met Phil. With the amazing upbringing I had experienced it was difficult for me to imagine living in a violent environment.I grew up in a household where violence was never an issue.We never discussed it beyond the general basics most children learn, no one is allowed to physically harm you, make sure you tell us if you are being bullied, and never bully or physically hurt anyone else.One winter day during my junior year, I found out that he had cheated on me again. He became enraged as I walked away to my class but he didn't follow me. In that moment, I had two choices: I could either sit there and continue to be belittled in front of everyone because he wasn't going to leave, and nobody else was going to say or do anything, or I could walk out and be shamed anyway because I had given into his threats. As we walked down the hall, he spit in my face, pulled my necklace off my neck, threw it in the trashcan and he threw me up against the lockers. Mine is a story of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.
My mom didn't know how to love me, I never fit in anywhere, was always in trouble. I didn't think my mum would let me go, but she saw how excited I was, I promised not to drink, and I'd be home on the last bus. I met my friend at her house, she suggested I try on a top of hers to make me look older, it was quite a sexy top, she did my make-up and I looked much older.But as they seek to understand why so many young people hit, demean or force sex on their partners, much remains unclear.One big question: Are boys and girls really equally at risk to become victims or abusers?In this 2010 photo North Plainfield High School drama students Luis Salazar, right, as "C.J.," and Melissa Torres, as "Angela," are shown during a rehearsal of "Don't U Luv Me," a play that explores the concept of violence in teen dating at North Plainfield High School in North Plainfield, N. More than a third of teen guys and girls say they've been physically, emotionally or sexually abused in their dating relationships, according to new, unpublished data from a nationwide survey.