Love Doesn't Hit ... or Hurt

When I was in high school we talked about abuse in health class. Even then I didn’t think teen violence in relationships was a real problem. I actually thought it was made up. My friends and I would date girls but had never thought about hurting them. My parents never had any serious verbal or physical fights. Call me ignorant, but from my perspective abuse wasn’t real.
            It wasn’t until I was in health class and we had studied abuse for weeks, that my awareness for this this issue grew and my heart began to break for the victims of relationship abuse. I started researching statistics, noticing unhealthy relationships that may involve abuse, and going to concerts that promoted violence awareness. My eyes were now open. But in my own personal life and in my friendships, abuse still didn’t seem to be in the picture.           
A few years later I was working at an event and the students were having a time of confession where they would talk about conflicts in their life that were holding them back from feeling a sense of fulfillment or love. All of the students were split up, so guys and girls were separated. I was obviously with the guys and they were talking about all the junk in their lives. There was some serious stuff shared, such as dealing with lust, family pressures, bullying, and so on. On the other side, a girl shared with her peers and leaders about being abused by her boyfriend, who was also at this event. Guess whose group he was in? Mine. This was the first time I had actually interacted with a couple that involved abuse, and involved leadership to step in and handle the situation with care.  
            I couldn’t imagine the courage it must have taken that girl to come out and share what was going on in her life--the embarrassment, the shame, the guilt of not telling someone sooner, the fear of what might happen next. Everything was handled carefully, effectively, and in order. If she hadn’t said anything she might still be in that abusive relationship being hit or yelled at for no reason, covering up her broken heart with a smile. Thankfully she stepped forward in a safe place, where she could be set free from abuse.
            I’m no expert on the subject, but I can tell you this, if you are in a situation where you are being abused, it’s never too late to get help to get out. Sometimes the warning signs are there before you even get too deeply committed. If that’s you, your worth and value is so much more than the love you think you might be missing out on, which really isn’t the kind of love you are after if it’s leaving you wounded, hurt or scarred.
If it’s you or someone you know, is there someone you can trust to tell--maybe your parents, a sibling, your best friend, a church leader or mentor? You can walk in freedom from the hurt you carry everyday by simply bringing the darkest secret of your life into the light. No one in the world should have to go through abuse of any kind. You are worth far more than that. Let who you are and your beauty be appreciated in a healthy way from someone who truly loves you. You may feel hopeless, but take it from this guy--hope is out there and is available for you. Help is also out there. Reach out to a local abuse shelter. They’re trained and skilled in helping out hundreds, who have found themselves trapped in abuse.
            I understand this process is scary and puts you in a vulnerable place, so it is important to have something to hold onto--something that brings hope and promise. I remember seeing that same girl at camp crying in desperation, and then later saw her rejoicing because she found love through Jesus. Psalm 9:9 says, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you”(ESV). God sees your beauty and He loves you. I urge you to hold onto God’s love as you go through this process. He will never hurt or abandon you. In Him you will find peace and comfort. Hold onto hope. I now know that abuse and relationship violence does exist. I also know that walking away to be treated with genuine love and honor is what you deserve. Hold onto the hope that there is a better world for you. Look to those who can lead you to that safe place so that you can walk in freedom and never be hit again. #speakout #againstdomesticviolence #teenviolenceawareness

We love you!

Fashioned Mag Team


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