What young women accept as normal today is devastating.
I wouldn’t say this is any kind of realisation as such, as the fact stated above is obvious in hundreds of different ways, and I could give thousands of examples that back it up, but what really hit me the other day – was just how serious the affect of this has.
Every girl is the key holder to what happens around her, and there is absolutely no way abuse could occur if we did not allow it, and for some they may even want it. After all, you couldn’t ask for stronger evidence to prove you are not worth love.
A friend of mine was crying in lesson the other day, so I walked with her to the bathroom and talked to her about what as wrong. She showed me a conversation over text between her and her boyfriend, where he called her names, told her to leave him, swore at her and said that if she cut (as she was so upset she told him she would) their relationship would be over.
The girl shared with me that her boyfriend gets angry easily, and likes to make a drama out of small situations (like her friendship with other boys); very often after he yells at her she feels depressed and down about herself. She also shared that later that night, she cut her wrists.
I said that was NOT OKAY, yet she did not see it as that big of a deal.
Although she was upset, in her mind this was just a bad conversation, one that could be easily resolved and dealt with. By the time I write this blog they may well have made up. But from that experience I came to realize something – a lot of young girls do not believe they deserve any more than emotional abuse, some even physical abuse, which goes to show how little self worth and love they have for themselves.
I mean, looking after ourselves – that just isn’t a thing. In fact, girls nowadays do quite the opposite, they choose to stay in abusive relationships, self-harm, flaunt their bodies to get attention and put SO much effort into keeping a pristine façade up so that everyone around them thinks they are doing okay, when in fact they do not like their bodies in the slightest, nor how they feel inside.
When I talk about having low self-worth, I’m speaking from experience. Since the age of around 7 or 8 I’ve despised my legs. For years I called myself fat every time I looked at my legs in the mirror, and as I got older I found the same thing with other parts of my body – arms, waist, cheeks, even my hands I thought were ‘chubby’. The names I called myself and how I treated my body was awful, and from that foundation I let others treat me the same way.
Of course I wasn’t called ‘fat’ everyday, but there were other ways I allowed abuse into my life, like leading guys on and continuing to message them even after they asked me for naked pictures, or talked about what they’d ‘do to me’ if they were with me. I never sent them anything, but I let them talk about me like that because the kind of attention I was receiving from them was the same as how I treated myself; disrespectful and abusive. I also craved it because of the lack of appreciation and love I had for myself… It was the closest thing I could find to filling the emptiness I had created in my body.
This didn’t just happen online; in lessons at school guys began to comment on my body, how I looked, things they wanted to do with me etc. etc., and after a while I could not take it any longer. I began to stand up for myself, tell the guys to stop, and started the conversation with other girls about how horrendous it was that this is how guys thought they could treat us.
The comments from guys stopped for a period of time; they knew if they said anything to me they would be called out for it. Other girls noticed a slight decrease in the behavior too, and for a while things went okay, but the thing is that I hadn’t fully dealt with the issue myself. I still thought I looked fat, and at this time I had lost some weight, but it was never enough.
Less than a year later things got worse again; ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ and ‘worthless’ started playing through my head again and that took its toll on both my body and mental health. I have never been depressed, but there were times where I felt extremely alone, and the anger I had towards myself reached an all time high. With help from a friend I put myself on a program to take better care of my body - sleep longer hours, exercise and lessen my food portions. This helped, but again my heart was not in it. Twice I tried to throw up my food, as I felt I had eaten too much, and that all the weight I was trying to lose would just be put back on again.
I started to pick up on comments from guys at school again, and boys began to start conversations with me similar to how they’d done before. What I’ve discovered in the past few months is that nothing will change unless first and foremost I have a good relationship with myself, thus I need to start working on that before trying to ‘fix’ the other areas of my life.
I’ve noticed this pattern play out with some of my friends and other young girls around me – they lack the foundational relationship with themselves; appreciation, love and care is dormant, therefore leading to a high level of acceptance when it comes to abuse.
It’s something that girls around the world need to start working on (including myself), as until self-love returns as the normal, rather than self-loathing and the belief we are worthless, then the level of abuse that we tolerate, accept, and regard as normal is only going to escalate.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.