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Rant & Rave

By Amy Woods

Tuesday, May 9, 2000

Editor's note: Due to the sensitive nature of this column and the age of the writer, a photograph of Woods is unavailable.

Abusive relationship
finally ended

I am an Honors student. My school life is relatively normal. I am responsible enough to have been made a manager at the fast-food store where I work. This is the picture of a typical adolescence that everyone else saw. There is a much darker side to my life.

By my sophomore year in high school, my seemingly happy relationship with my boyfriend took a sudden dark turn. One day he decided that he couldn't deal with my temper and with one swift kick to my stomach, our relationship became abusive.

At the time, it didn't mean anything to me. To tell you the truth, I got up and kept arguing with him. Every time it happened after that, we just went on. I loved this man with every part of my soul. I was dependent on him and he was dependent on me.

We had grown up together as childhood friends from the age of 7. I knew him very well and was terrified of being alone.

When we became a couple, my friends disappeared except for a few who were closest to me. My days consisted of school and seeing my boyfriend. Nothing else. When in public, we put on a grand show, holding hands and exchanging kisses. But after a while, it became all show and nothing more, an elaborate spectacle to hide the pain.

When alone, we often argued. Our arguments were loud and volatile and dangerous. I would go to any lengths to keep this man at my side.

I was never home because my life was controlled by this man. I had no sense of who I was without him. I missed out on countless parties, barbecues and carnivals, the kind of life that a normal teen-ager has.

I felt like I deserved so much more but didn't have any idea how to get there. My weight fluctuated rapidly. My mood swings were unexpected. I would cry for hours and not know why.

Heart to Heart

A mother/daughter luncheon program addressing dating violence among teens is being sponsored by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline and the American Association of University Women Windward Branch.

Bullet When: 11:20 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Bullet Where: Pali Club House
Bullet Tickets: $30 per mom/teen pair
Bullet Call: 534-0040

On Jan. 20, after one of the worst beatings I ever had, I decided I had had enough. When he left, I stood in front of the mirror I had avoided looking at for so long. I saw a tired, pale, thin, mess of a human being staring back at me. That night I called 911 and the life that I was living ended. I don't remember why I decided to call the police. I just did it and knew my relationship was over.

I still carry the scars of our relationship. I remember the pain. Some people say we forget what it's like to hurt. I'll never forget what a punch feels like, or being burned by a cigarette, or being dragged across asphalt.

I'll never forget what it's like to have your jaw dislocated or your head slammed into the dashboard of a car. I will never let those images and memories fade. If I do, I won't be able to help others.

I want other girls to realize there is a better life waiting for them. I want them to know that pain isn't acceptable. I want them to know they will love again.

I'm not saying that girls have to hate these men and have them locked away in prison. No matter what anybody says, you don't have to stop loving your tormentor, but you must stop the pain. It won't get better. He won't change. You have to realize that you have to move on.

Your situation will only get better when you learn to love yourself. Your eyes will be opened, as will your heart.

Amy Woods is a senior at St. Francis High School.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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