The panel yesterday really hit home for me. Throughtout my entire childhood my father has been an alcoholic and talked down to my mother and she's just stayed with him because she feels like she can't leave. He'd punch holes in the wall, rip the front door off the hinges, bust mirrors and windows out and she'd just say "well we just have to not make him angry." And what really sucks is my dad is an amazing person when he doesn't drink and he's always apologized but sorry only goes so far. You can't keep putting someone through that sort of mental torture, and I wish my mom would leave but I know she never will.
Not only did i grow up with my father acting like a raging lunatic but I also experienced dating violence with my first boyfriend. I was really young and believed him when he told me it was my fault that he was so angry and jealous all of the time. I wasn't allowed to wear shorts or anything low cut because "Who was I trying to impress?" And if i didn't wear makeup for a few days and then decided to put some on when we were going to hang out with friends he'd get angry. I also couldn't cut my hair a different style or dye it. He'd constantly check my phone to make sure I wasn't talking to any other guys or any of my girl friends that he thought were "sluts".
I actually went to a concert (warped tour) without him one year and he called me over 100 times that day to tell me how much he hated me and how much of a bitch I was for going without him. At some point during that day he actually snapped his phone in half and proceeded to call me off of a friends phone to cuss me out. But at that time I really thought that I was the one in the wrong for everything, because I didn't think anyone could be that hateful for no reason.
We were 13 when we started dating and broke up just before my 16th birthday, and throughout the whole time he insisted that I had sex with someone else before we started dating and was angry that I wouldn't have sex with him. He'd always say that he could break up with me and find someone who would put out, but at that time I didn't feel like I was ready and he was only making me feel worse. He slapped me once and I instantly kicked him in the balls and told him he'd never put his hands on me. I think that was when I realized how bad it really was and tried breaking up with him several times. But every time I tried he'd cry and tell me that he needed me and that I couldn't leave. One time he actually started flailing around and put a hole in his wall with his head. When he finally did break up with me for someone else I had completely isolated myself from my friends, but they were so supportive and accepted me back with open arms.
I've told myself I'll never let someone stop me from talking to who I please and keep me from having friends outside of my relationship. And I'll never let someone control what i decide to do with my body.