The Danger of Domestic Violence: Sarah Hyland

The beginning of October marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Month. Today, it’s more important than ever for collegiettes to be aware of domestic violence, to ensure mental stability and to learn the resources available for those experiencing domestic violence. Watching stars such as Sarah Hyland from the popular sitcom Modern Family experience mental health issues personally makes these situations more realistic and more prevalent to everyday girls like ourselves.

According to the Washington Post, Sarah Hyland obtained a temporary restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, Matt Prokop on September 2 3. She claimed that he abused her both physically and verbally throughout their relationship of several years. The temporary restraining order ensures that he stays 100 feet away from the actress, her home, her workplace and her dog. A hearing has been set for Oct. 10.

In court filing documents, Hyland claimed that her then-boyfriend choked her, and following their break up, he sent her emotionally disturbing and threatening messages, including his own suicide threats.

Hyland sought help from her Modern Family costar, Julie Bowen. After their breakup, Prokop attended a rehabilitation facility. After Prokop got out of rehab, the director of the facility contacted Hyland and urged her to get a restraining order due to the current state of her ex-boyfriend, the Washington Post reported.

Hearing about celebrities’ experiences with domestic violence and mental health has both a positive and negative effect on collegiettes like us. Although these issues are horrible experiences no matter who they happen to, the spectrum that celebrities like Sarah Hyland live in creates a broader awareness of these issues. Celebrities like Demi Lovato have embraced their past negative experiences. They have used these experiences as a way to relate to girls who experience similar issues.  These celebrities share their personal stories while also promoting resources and ways to seek help.

Hearing about more and more instances of domestic violence and mental health issues in the media cause some to believe that these incidents are increasing and becoming more prevalent, or even acceptable in today’s society.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the majority of domestic violence cases remain unreported. The NCADV states, “approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to police.” The reasons that these cases remain unreported are very varied and complicated, but seeing celebrities report their own personal cases encourages others to do the same.

With Mental Health Awareness Month upon us, it brings to light how important it is for victims to seek help. For collegiettes at TCNJ, the College’s Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS) provides us with several sources that address concerning issues. CAPS provides more information about the direct services they provide on campus. Their fall hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at their office, 107 Eickhoff. The number for urgent situations is 609-771-2247.

Don’t be afraid to seek help, collegiettes, if you find yourself in a situation similar to Sarah Hyland’s.