The new face of domestic violence

It’s been the talk of the town. He hit her, and just maybe she hit him, but because of it, both their careers and reputations could be ruined. The fairly recent Chris Brown and Rihanna saga has dominated entertainment news over the past few weeks. After the Feb. 8 incident, more and more light has been shed on the reality of domestic violence. It could probably be because this time it involves celebrities whose personal lives stay in the spotlight.

But what about the average woman who is faced with the same problem? What if we passed by these people on the way to class?

When asked for her opinion on the Chris Brown-Rihanna fiasco, student counselor Tundra Turner keeps it plain and simple. “She won’t leave until she’s truly tired.”

Turner has heard her fair share of stories as a counselor at Grambling State University. Shockingly, Turner says four out of five patients are students involved in abusive or unhealthy relationships.

“We have very beautiful girls that come in here every day that you would have no idea are in abusive relationships,” she said. “It’s sad, but it’s real on campus.”

Turner knows for a fact that most victims are females who are generally seeking love from men because of the absence of their fathers during their childhood. These women believe that they’re so in love with these abusive men that it cripples them into staying and dealing with it.

When someone thinks of domestic violence, they usually associate it with the physical attributes. The physical violence can be just as painful as when the abuse is mental. Being controlling, overly dominant or subjecting someone to humiliation can all be forms of mental domestic abuse.

“He may never hit you, but how does he make you feel?” Turner asks. “If a person belittles you by making you feel stupid, ugly or whatever, it’s just as worse as hitting.”

Physical or mental, domestic violence is about control. And most victims are too controlled to speak out. One reason is because of embarrassment. The victim may be too embarrassed to let others know about their situation. In some cases, the abused victim is a male who is too embarrassed to speak about an abusive female.

The main cause victims choose to keep quiet is fear. Fear of what people would say or do, fear of what damage it may cause their reputations, and overall, fear of their partner.

Turner knows there is only so much she can do as a counselor. Her advice is helpful, but as she states, “they’re going to keep going back until they get tired of it. Then, they’ll get out.”

If you know somebody that is currently in an abusive relationship, the best thing to do as a friend is to be supportive, not judgmental. The more you warn them to stay away, the more driven to that person they will be. If you are in an abusive relationship, mental or physical, believe in yourself and break the silence. Abusive relationships only get worse and not better.

Utilize the free services that are available to you such as the student counseling services that will hold an event on next Thursday in the Auditorium to raise money for DART (the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team). But most of all, remember, Abuse is NOT love, and love is NOT abuse.