Maybe He Doesn't Hit You

Maybe He Doesn't Hit You

But that does not mean it isn't abuse.

When someone says the words "relationship violence," the first thing that people tend to think about is the idea of being slapped in the face, or pushed down the stairs, or punched in the gut. However, this is not the only type of relationship violence that exists. Both emotional and verbal abuse are not only increasingly common in today's society, but incredibly damaging. Although verbal and emotional abuse show no outward signs of damage, internally, the bruises still exist.

Recently, a Twitter hashtag has sprung up to battle the notion that all relationship violence is physical. Users share stories and examples of how psychological abuse can be just as damaging as violent abuse.

These are just a few of the thousands of tweets shared over the last few days regarding the topic.

The hashtag was started by Zahira Kelly, an artist and writer, in order to raise awareness about the different kinds of abuse. Although I am not generally a proponent of using a platform such as Twitter to promote such sensitive and controversial topics, I believe that the movement is incredibly effective.

Showing Twitter users, in 140 characters or less, different aspects of relationship violence is actually very helpful. Users have the ability to flip through hundreds of tweets in just a few minutes. This means that users have now been exposed to many different ideas, perspectives, and stories from users around the country and the world that they would not have known otherwise.

Not only does this give information to those who may not know much about the topic, but the hashtag also gives victims an opportunity to speak out about their own struggles. Additionally, victims have the ability to read through other users stories, relate to, and communicate quickly and easily with those who have suffered through similar situations.

Although the hashtag focuses on non-physical relationship violence, that does not mean that violent behavior is uncommon in relationships. Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten by a partner or an ex-partner. However, relationship violence does not only occur towards women. Between 2014 and 2015 in the United Kingdom, 1.3 million women and 600,000 men experienced some form of domestic violence. It is an issue that crosses all genders, socio-economic statuses, and age groups.

The issue of relationship violence is becoming more and more prominent amongst younger generations. Roughly 1.5 million high school aged boys and girls in the United States admitted to being sexually or physically abused by a romantic partner within the past year. About one out of every three people will be in an unhealthy relationship at some point in their lives. Approximately 50 percent of people who have experienced sexual or physical assault will attempt suicide at some point during their life. However, only 33 percent of people who experience abuse confide in someone about their abuse.

This goes to show just how important #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou really is. The hashtag encourages Twitter users, a social media site particularly common amongst young people, to speak out about relationship violence.

If the hashtag saves just one life, or helps just one person realize that they are in an unhealthy relationship, I consider it a success.

Cover Image Credit: Boston

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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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