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Bringing Awareness to Domestic Abuse

Alexis Burch

Alexis Burch

Madison Green, Writer

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Maybe they constantly go through their significant other’s phone when they are not around. Maybe they make snide remarks about their partner’s appearance or things that cannot be changed. Or maybe they control the relationship and the life of their significant other. Intense jealousy, intimidation, possessiveness. These are all signs of abuse.

Many people assume domestic violence is not as extensive as it really is, but domestic violence hotlines receive around 20,000 phone calls a day according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Although it is often confused with being only physical abuse, there are several forms of domestic abuse. Emotional abuse, intimidation, using dominance and economic control are a few of the subtle but still damaging tactics of abuse.

Although many people have certain ideas about what domestic abusers look like, abuse occurs across all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic categories., There are many celebrities who have been charged with domestic violence, and some fans neglect to see past the lights they are blinded by.

Jordan Talmon, a Bryant graduate, disagrees with supporting artists or celebrities with a history of being abusive. After finding out about Chris Brown’s history of abuse towards his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, Talmon makes a point to avoid any music Brown releases or is featured in.

“It’s disturbing to see he still has a career,” Talmon said.

While many try to steer clear of movies and songs featuring people accused of abuse, there are still fans who either are unaware of the allegations or decide to overlook the crime. Bryant graduate Caylin Allen still listens to and supports Brown’s music.

“I personally like to separate the artist’s music from their personal life,” Allen said.

Harassment can take many forms, whether it’s domestic abuse, sexual assault, or bullying. Unfortunately, many people have to deal with harassment from strangers. In eighth grade, senior Madison Treat was constantly bullied by a male classmate for two months.

“I would walk into [class] every day, and this guy would always say something about me, like how I was white trash, ugly and disgusting and how nobody wanted me,“ Treat said.

It was not long before the bullying progressed from name-calling to sexual threats.

“I remember one time, he told me he wanted to take me, throw me in the back of his car, [assault] me with a crowbar and leave me in a ditch to die,” Treat said.

Although she did not have a relationship with her harasser, she understands what it may be like for those stuck in an abusive relationship.

“I tried my hardest not to let it affect me, but it came to the point to where it really affected me and how I viewed myself,” Treat said. “That experience gave me an in-depth perspective of what it looks like for somebody who has to live with something like that all the time.”

This experience has opened Treat’s eyes on how relationships should work, and she hopes to help her friends realize what is healthy and what is not.

“I’ve had plenty of friends come and talk to me about their relationships, and I’m blown away by how okay they are with what’s happened,” Treat said.

A 2015 study published by Huffington Post found that one in three women have been sexually harassed in their lifetime, while only 39% report it. Treat wants to help spread the awareness on how common harassment is, especially for women.

“I feel like that’s something a lot of people wouldn’t know about me, that I’ve felt that and experienced that,” Treat said. “I think it’s important to be aware that you don’t know what people are going through.”

If you or anyone you know is currently involved in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

Or, if you or someone you know is dealing with sexual harassment or assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

Learn more about sexual harassment at https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-harassment or http://www.thehotline.org/

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