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Survivor Story: My Teen/College Dating Abuse Experience – Domestic Violence Services

My Teen/College Dating Abuse Experience

Survivor Story by Crystal M.

People go through many experiences in life. You learn many lessons through the experiences you go through. These lessons make you a better, stronger, and more informed person. Some are happy lessons while some are sad. Some experiences you may just ignore as irrelevant while others you take into your heart and let them overcome you. This is my experience having survived dating abuse as a college student. 

When I decided to go to college I wanted to experience the “college life” that I saw on TV. I was able to get enough scholarship money that paid for my books and a year of on campus housing. I did not have a car to travel back and forth so I had to take the bus. I was a full-time student who worked two jobs. I thought I had everything planned out, but that was before I got into a serious dating relationship. 

I started college in a dating relationship which made everything more difficult. He did not attend college and had no interest in going to college. He was not happy with the idea of me living on campus without him around. When they say “love is blind” it is a true statement. He gave me an ultimatum: if I stayed on campus we would not be together. At that time, I loved him. I also thought that I couldn’t find anyone else because I wasn’t pretty enough. So, every day I left campus after class and/or work to stay overnight at his mom’s house with him. 

I struggled with low self-esteem and he didn’t make it any better. Throughout this relationship he was verbally and emotionally abusive. He told me that I was fat and I wouldn’t find anyone better than him. When we argued he made comments about my weight. He told me, “You gained 50 pounds since we been together and you let yourself go.” Every time I ate a snack he said “you shouldn’t be eating that” and he took it from me. 

During that time, I didn’t know much about emotional or verbal abuse. I thought abuse was only physical. No one talked about it with me.

I missed out on enjoying my college career and making friends. The only friend I had was my roommate who I barely saw. I wanted to join a sorority but he did not allow it. My grades in class were dropping because I wasn’t focused on my class assignments. I missed out on my college experience to make him happy. I put him before me and that was the biggest mistake of my life. 

I wish I knew more about dating abuse at that time. 

If I knew everything I know now, I would have ended the relationship much sooner than it ended. I let him destroy my confidence which took quite some time to rebuild. I will never again put a guy before me. My happiness comes first! 


If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please call our 24-hour Hotline at 717-299-1249 or text SAFE to 61222. If you are a survivor and would like to share your story, visit


About Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County (DVS) – DVS is a catalyst to eliminate domestic violence in Lancaster County through direct service, advocacy, and social change. DVS offers 24/7 hotline and text line, emergency shelter, counseling, children’s programming, legal advocacy and representation, and transitional housing. All services are free of charge and strictly confidential. DVS hosts professional trainings and community education and prevention sessions for schools, businesses and community and faith-based organizations. For more information, visit