KARLA MARTINEZ/Coachella Uninc
When I spotted a bruise on my friend “Anna,” I didn’t need to ask her how it got there.
Anna, who is only 18, became pregnant at the age of 16 and quickly moved into the home of her child’s father. The situation became more difficult when Anna went back to school and had the sole responsibility of caring for the child. Her boyfriend was always working and rarely helped.
Anna complained about his lack of commitment, and they argued continuously. He verbally abused her. The arguing became so extreme that one day, during a heated argument, he punched Anna on the side of her stomach.
In spite of that experience, Anna did not take action. He has given her a lifestyle that her parents could never afford. Anna has put up with the abuse for two years now and it hasn’t gotten any better.
Anna says she doesn’t want to leave the father of her child because she doesn’t want him to be absent in her baby’s life. I think she is too young to be going through these difficulties, especially because she has a two-year old and lives away from her family.
I don’t know the reasons behind their arguments, but I don’t think a woman should ever be abused by the person who is supposed to love her the most.
According to the dating violence website, loveisrespect, “Everybody deserves to be in a healthy relationship free from violence (but) drawing the line between unhealthy and abusive can be hard.”
This website offers many resources, from how to identify the warning signs of abuse to how to make a safety plan to leave an abusive relationship.
Abuse hurts those who care about the victim, too. The physical and emotional pain Anna goes through has affected me greatly. I am constantly worried about her well-being. Recently, I decided to have a serious talk with her and tried convincing her to go to counseling with or without her baby’s father. Her family is also aware of the abuse and they have offered their home to her and her baby.
I know Anna isn’t ignorant about her situation; she realizes she is being abused. She knows she has people willing to help her. I hope she takes the next step to finding a solution and that every teenager who is experiecing the same problem finds help. Relationships are not always perfect but should always be safe.
If you need help, please call the loveisrespect dating violence hotline 1-866-331-9474 or visit California Partnership to End Domestic Violence to learn about available resources.
The identity of “Anna” is being held for her safety.