You've probably seen news stories and made-for-TV movies about date rape, domestic violence, teenage abuse stories and other abuse of women. Women and teens often dismiss these stories thinking it doesn't affect them. Guess what? Chances are you know someone who's a victim. BeingGirl and Tampax teamed up with V-Day, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping violence against women. We asked our members to share their teenage abuse stories about how they've overcome a bad dating situation so that we could share them online to help other girls deal with violent situations. Teenage Abuse Stories Becki/United States I was 17 years old and moved five hours away from the house I had lived in for 16 years to be with the guy I thought was the love of my life —until he turned psycho and started beating me on a daily basis for nothing. When I finally told him I wanted to go home, he went nuts —beating me worse, hiding my clothes and contacts, and messing up my car so I couldn't drive it. He wouldn't let me use the phone or the computer to get in contact with my family. One day, he took me to the emergency room because my nose was broken, and they let me call my parents, who finally came and got me. I had to pay $800 to get a truck to tow my car back and everything, but it was the greatest Christmas present ever. When we drove into my hometown, I got out, kissed the ground, and hugged my family, never wanting to let go. Jennifer/United States It is so disheartening that most of the teenage abuse stories on this page are from very young women. But I realized that I was just 13 when I was raped, and the experience set me up for more abuse throughout my teens and early 20s. Even 20 years later, I'm still healing, the effects rippling out from that center. That violence scarred me, but it also scarred those who love me, and it continues to affect all of our lives up to this very day. This is not a women's issue, it's a human issue. Stopping violence against women means stopping violence period, and as you can see from the ages of those participating, we must start now, and we must include the very young. I'm committed to ending the violence in my lifetime. Stacy/United States When I was eight years old, the father of a girl I knew sexually abused me. I did not tell anyone until I was 15. I didn't even understand what had happened. I now have a 17-year-old daughter and my goal in life was to keep her safe. It didn't help. She was date raped by a friend when she was 15. Even though we had openly talked about the dangers of sexual assault, she couldn't even call it rape until she almost had a nervous breakdown. She was drinking when it happened, and she felt she couldn't tell anyone, and that it was her fault. Luckily, a great rape crisis center helped her put her life back together; but the saddest thing is that she could not prosecute because there was no physical evidence and many of her friends —both boys and girls —turned away from her and blamed her for what had happened. We still live in a world where we blame the woman and excuse the man who perpetuated the violence. However, thanks to her support systems and the inner strength she has developed, she is not only surviving but growing into a fantastic, vibrant, active, loving young woman. Hanna/United States When I started college, I met this really great guy. I had dated him for over a year when he started becoming very controlling and manipulative of me. I could tell he was very insecure about himself —he'd always tell me never to look another man in his eyes or be in a room alone with another guy. He picked me up one night after class, drove me to a desolate park, and beat the life out of me. I somehow managed to convince him to spare my life. I left him out of fear that the next time he might just kill me. Every day is a constant battle with myself, trying to overcome the pain from this horrible thing. It would have been so much easier if I hadn't loved and trusted him so much. The courts are still figuring out what to do with him. To all those girls who are in abusive relationships: you owe it to your self-respect and dignity to leave those men. You deserve to be treated like a human, not a slave! Arielle/United States Two years ago, when I was only 13, I was dating this older guy who I thought was cool, nice, and sweet, but he then turned out to be abusive. He started to show signs, but I just thought that he was in a bad mood, so I ignored them. Then one day, he and I were arguing at his house and he lost his temper so bad that he threw me down the stairs, ran downstairs himself, and started kicking and hitting me. The next day at school, I was changing in gym class and my best friend saw the bruises all over my body. She threatened to tell the guidance counselor, but I begged her not to. For some reason, I didn't want anyone to find out what he had done. She agreed, but then at lunch without me knowing, she told some teachers and the nurse. They talked to me about it, and I got enough support to end our relationship. You should ALWAYS tell people if something like that ever happens to you. If it weren't for my best friend, I don't know how I would have gotten through it.
Read other girls teenage abuse stories and learn how to prevent abuse at BeingGirl.com.