I grew up in the age of Twilight, where everyone was either team Edward or team Jacob. The team Jacob girls were ostracized, compared to their team Edward counterparts. Although I've been lucky enough to never have been in an abusive relationship I've always wondered if we have been set up to think the wrong thing about relationships.
I remember reading the books, I remember feeling off. This sentiment was not shared by most of my friends. It wasn't until much later in my life I realized why the whole Bella, Edward romance really confused and upset me. It was an abusive relationship. What scares me the most is that most of my peers never noticed this and continually romanticize this type of relationship. Now, I don't want to pick apart Twilight and tell you exactly everything wrong with the relationships in the movie, mainly because it's been done before but also because it isn't the only example of dating violence in the media.
Think about the relationships you see depicted in any TV show you watch. Now think about what you know about domestic violence. Relationships where men are possessive are highlighted, arguments are a sign of a passionate relationship, men treating their wives as property. You don't have to look far to find these characteristics.
Now don't think I'm going around criminalizing men, in my experience I've witnessed a lot of dating violence coming from women to their boyfriends or husbands. If you've spent any time in a high school you've probably seen a girl slap her boyfriend, you've probably seen a few girls slap their boyfriends. This type of behavior has been normalized through shows like Degrassi.
I often question why this is considered normal, but what is truly important to understand is that the normalization of women slapping men does not bode well for our views of domestic violence. Men are scared to come out that they are being abused, catching themselves into a constant cycle of violence. As someone who fights for equal rights this power dynamic cannot be ignored. We are trapping men in abusive relationships because both men and women have learned that partner violence is only important if it's coming from men to women.
The kinds of psychological warfare that's been depicted in the media has made an impact on our relationships. We are entering relationships under the impression that our relationships are passionate and healthy. If you think that your partner is abusing you, and this might be hard to read, they probably are. There is a difference between an incompatible relationship and an abusive relationship, and unfortunately we are not taught to notice the distinctions. If you think you or one of your friends is in an abusive relationship speak up, get help. Abuse is not acceptable in any relationship, let me say that again, abuse is not acceptable in any relationship, one more time for the people in the back, ABUSE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN ANY RELATIONSHIP.
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