“I wasn’t sure that I was in a bad relationship. I mean, I knew it wasn’t great, but doesn’t everybody fight?” Marcus seemed like a sweet, fun loving teenager but with Nivea he was controlling and abusive. At first it was the little things…Nivea didn’t spend enough time with Marcus, didn’t answer his texts fast enough, and spent more time with friends than with him. Nivea and her mom never imagined that the vibrant, outgoing young woman she had become would disappear to become the girl that Marcus wanted.
Nivea tried everything to please him – she changed her hair, went on a diet, stopped hanging out with friends, stopped wearing skirts, closed her Facebook account. Her mom knew that Nivea was acting different but she didn’t see the red flags.
When Marcus attacked Nivea in front of her friends, the responding police officer gave Nivea’s mom a brochure to The James House. Going to counseling makes Nivea ten times more likely to have healthy relationships as an adult. “I’m glad to have someone to talk to who doesn’t judge me but I’ll be honest. I’m still struggling. I’m trying to find the way back to being me.”