Dear you,

You know who you are and I won't slander your name by putting it in here. You royally messed up my life, but this isn't a letter written in anger it is an letter written in truth. I spent far too many years dedicated to someone who would rather hit me than hit on me. You were someone who would degrade me instead of build me up. Your name is screamed in the back of my head every time someone goes to put their arm around me and I flinch. A flash of your face appears in my memory every time someone raises their arms around me and I cower. You are the reason why I am labeled "victim" instead of survivor by people who don't understand.

According to Women Helping Women, one third of high school students will be involved in an abusive relationship - whether that be verbal, emotional, sexual or physical. Congratulations, you allowed to me to enter this elite group of people. Notice how I said people? Yes, we're still people. We were victimized, but we are not victims. If that statistic wasn't horrifying enough, the article further states that "only 33 percent of teens who were in an abusive relationship told anyone." It wasn't until much later that I became part of this group.

Generally in middle and high school people are breaking each other's hearts, not their bones. They are not bruising and fracturing ribs over misunderstandings. Hands are not crushed between desks for no reason. Things like that aren't supposed to happen. Little girls are not supposed to be left to wonder what they did to deserve that treatment. They are not supposed to be forced to stay on the phone all night instead of sleeping. They are not supposed to reread novel length text messages instead of eating searching for the love they so deeply crave, searching for a reason to hold on. Ideations of suicide being strongly considered as their only option out. That is not right.

It is years later and I am still struggling trying to believe what the Joyful Heart Foundation put so eloquently, "Domestic violence is a crime rooted in power and control - it is never 'caused' by making someone angry or upset. It is never justifiable or excusable, nor is it ever the fault of the survivor. All people deserve to be in healthy and loving relationships free of violence."

It is years later and I am still wondering why we couldn't be a normal couple. I wonder why breaking my heart wasn't good enough for you, why did you have to break my bones and sense of security too?

Sincerely,

A survivor, not a victim