Domestic violence has been front and center in the news. On Valentine’s Day, former Olympian Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp while she hid behind the bathroom door. Exes of the disabled champion say he was very jealous and controlling, and it isn’t a surprise that it would end like this. And the singer Rihanna caused a stir when she apparently reconciled with Chris Brown, who beat her several years ago. It’s hard to forget the graphic and horrifying pictures of the Diamond songstress, her face filled with bruises.
These cases are not isolated. The group One Billion Rising estimates that “one in three women and girls will be raped, beaten, or in some way sexually abused during their lifetimes.” And it happens on campus; even if you don’t hear it. A victim of domestic violence can be sitting in your classroom right now. Many victims keep quiet because they are afraid of embarrassment or threatened by their partner or simply are not aware of the steps to take in order to report.
It happened to a CCNY student who decided to remain anonymous says, “It’s hard to just go on and rant to someone. This is the person you love and you don’t want to see them get hurt and put in jail. But then you [need] to remember that this is the person that showed their “love” for you by beating the crap out of you.”
As she breaks down reminiscing about the night she was beaten, she continues, “You never think it can happen to you and you don’t think that someone that you love so much can do something so horrific. And when it happens you have all these emotions and you have no idea how to react.”
As of today, the 20-year-old survivor is stronger. She spends her free time mentoring girls in high school and speaking to them about self-confidence and empowerment. “Once I got out I was broken. I had to get professional help to get me where I am today. It took a lot of work but I’m here.” She spends her free time mentoring young girls in high school and speaking to them about self-confidence and empowerment.