Editor’s Note: The following essay won third place in the high school division of the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence 2022 Know Your Worth Essay Competition.
Any type of violence or abuse in relationships is unpleasant and unfavorable in every way. I highly believe that these types of violence happen very often and are sometimes seen as common in the CNMI. Some of the types of abuse portrayed in the CNMI include sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, as well as physical abuse. It’s important to raise awareness and educate others about being safe, and to lead them into greater choices to enter in a healthier relationship.
“Isn’t it easier for them to leave? So they won’t be hurt anymore?” Leaving a very abusive relationship can seem easy from the outside, but is very difficult and not that simple in reality. There could be many factors why victims don’t leave their abusers: being controlled, feeling like there’s still hope to save the relationship, fear of being alone forever, isolation from friends and family, threatened. Sometimes people would even think that it’s their fault for it happening to them in the first place. No matter who you are, or what situation you are in, any type of abuse or violence is not your fault, and you are not to blame for being hurt.
I believe that there are a few things that should be done to help the youth and teens that are experiencing violence right now. Some involve domestic abuse shelters (to grant victims a place to stay if they have nowhere else to go), convenient free phones to use (access to call for help without the abuser knowing who they called), and even code/safewords (can be placed into women’s and men’s bathroom, e.g., “Do you have any warm cookies for sale?”). With at least some of these solutions, I feel like there is a chance of saving people from toxic relationships.
To grant awareness, there should be advertisements or posters stuck around, and recalling to watch out for red flags, what abuse can look like, and how to handle things. Out of many things, it’s important to establish a healthy relationship once getting into one. A few topics that could be talked about beforehand can include boundaries, honesty, communication, and set rules. With these kinds of topics, it helps to understand your partner or soon-to-be significant other about how they feel and what they might be like when you two are together.
No one should ever resort to violence.
ANGELINE FAITH LAXAMANA (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Angeline Faith Laxamana is a student of Marianas High School.