Domestic violence occurs a lot more frequently than most people would think. Just because it did not happen to you or someone you know, it does not mean it doesn’t happen. It is one of the most underreported crimes. (2) Most of the victims of domestic violence are women – approximately 85% of domestic violence victims are female. Domestic violence is the leading cause of harm to women. (1) One of every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Women who are between the ages of 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal domestic violence by their intimate partner. (1) I am a student at NC State and a victim and survivor of domestic violence. Since October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I thought I should share my story with you. I want you to know that domestic violence does happen and that it could happen to anyone. You don’t need to know who I am, what I look like, or what my name is. All you need to know is that I could be the girl you pass on the Brickyard, I could be the girl waiting in line at the Atrium, I could be the girl in your class, I could be your friend --I could even be you.
I hope that my story will help others understand and recognize what an abusive relationship looks like. Even though you may know the signs of an abusive relationship, you might not recognize that you are in an abusive relationship. Or even if you do, you may not have the courage or know how to get out of it. I never believed something like this could happen to me. I never thought that someone I loved and trusted could hurt me like this. I always thought to myself: “I’m a strong independent woman and I will never let a man hurt me.” But I did not know that domestic violence was indiscriminate and anyone could be a victim – even strong independent women.