I moved to East Texas from Louisiana with my two teenage daughters in 2011. Both girls were in high school. Mary was a freshman and Regina was a junior.
At the high school, Regina met Joey. He was cute and funny (at first). On the outside Joey looked like a nice boy, but behind closed doors he was anything but. Among other things he would hit Regina for small infractions, like not being where he told her to be after school, and speaking to anyone that he did not approve of. Regina would come home with scratches and bruises all over her neck, arms and legs. When her I asked her what was going on she would simply say, “Nothing, I fell in soccer practice” or “I got hit with the ball in gym class”. Regina was sneaking out at night and coming home at all hours. I was not sure if it was the move away from her old high school and friends that triggered this change in my daughter.
One day, I received a call from the school. Regina had been pushed out of a moving car and was very seriously injured. She’d been taken to the local hospital. She had a head injury, broken arm and a fractured knee. She was on crunches and then walked with a cane for almost a year.
Teen Abuse Lingers
Still she protected Joey and said the fall from the car was an accident. She could have been killed. Like many teen girls Regina’s age, she thought this abusive boyfriend was her life, and that she could only exist in this small town if she had him.
Regina was forced to get over Joey, because he left her. Unfortunately she is not going to school but is working in a diner. She walks with a limp because of the accident, (Joey never visited her in the hospital or called her after the accident). Her self-esteem is low, and although she is not in a relationship now she continues to take on relationships with men who will not love her the way she deserves to be loved. She refuses to get counseling help.
This is often the case with young girls who have no idea what a relationship is. This can happen to anyone. If your daughter sees her mother abused by her father, this is her education on relationships. She can easily fall victim to an abusive boyfriend if she does not get the facts about dating violence.
As told to Darlene Greene, founder of the Dallas-based Ina Mae Greene Foundation.