Winning essays in the NMCADSV Know Your Worth Essay Competition. The entries sought to answer the question: How common do you think violence or abuse is in relationships in the CNMI? Describe what you think needs to be done to help youth and teens experiencing violence or abuse in a relationship.
Editor’s Note: The following essay won third place in the middle school division of the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence 2022 Know Your Worth Essay Competition.
Here in the CNMI, I think that, although we do not see it often with our own eyes, hear it with our ears, or feel it physically, there is a tremendous amount of violence. Since we teens are young we are often blinded, and we believe the violence is love. We are not taught to see the difference between true pure love and what is fake and evil. We are sightless to what we think is love. We mistake it, we choose to believe it makes us feel happy, good, and reassuring, but we all know it does not. It is draining. Some may feel like they cannot speak up. We hide it. It eats at our mental health over and over, until eventually unfortunately some give up.
I believe we can help people who struggle to express how they feel. Elders who are close to the individual can try and offer a pep talk or anything of the sort. Mental health check in should be number one, because I feel as if it is the number one thing we lack to do. “I am okay,” “I am fine” does not necessarily mean the individual is fine or okay. In today’s world boys are stereotyped; they are painted to be this image that they do not have to be. They think it is a weak move to cry or to reach out for help but it is not. We need to reassure them that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to cry and feel vulnerable for a moment but we all need the help and reassurance of getting back up again.
Things people tend to do when we report a situation like this is we deflect the problem. We are taught to believe that it is our fault instead of the other individual. This is why I think reassurance and trust is the main thing we need to see to feel supported. If we get the support and learn to make the right choices we can feel reassured to not feel ashamed and talk about the violence going on. Reporting violence to the police, parents, teachers or an elder that you can trust is something that can help resolve the problem you are in. The elders should just learn to support, be trustworthy and never deflect or make the individual’s feelings feel invalid.
Support groups and therapy can help these young adults not feel alone and scared. Talking about situations like this more often can help the teens feel comfortable and open to share their experience or story. Everyone has a voice and it all can be heard; we just need to throw it out there with power, love and reassurance.
MYA DLG PANGELINAN (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Mya DLG Pangelinan is a student of Mount Carmel School.