The Teen Experience?

Guest Blogger Kristine Ambrosch reviews our new film “Cheyanne’s Story.”   Kristine Ambrosch is from Queens, New York and is currently an English major at Hunter College.  She has always loved to read and understood early on how the written word has the ability to influence people’s thoughts and actions.  Kristine also loves animals and enjoys doing arts and crafts.

Review of “Cheyanne’s Story”

For many teenage girls falling for a “bad boy” is often harmless.  But for Cheyanne, dating a “bad boy” meant being threatened with a knife.  She felt certain he would kill her. Seeing the young Cheyanne in the Healing Voice’s film relive her violent experience is shocking.  While her classmates were worried about their grades, Cheyanne was worried about dying.

IMG_0320At first Cheyanne thought she could be the one to change her boyfriend’s malevolent attitude.  Even as he elbowed her in the face Cheyanne stayed with him and continued to push away her friends and family.  Her boyfriend further isolated her by deleting her friends’ numbers off of her phone.  Once Cheyanne realized her boyfriend’s possessive manner was dangerous, she was able to go to her mother for help.  However assistance was not easy; the first police officer they went to knew the boyfriend’s father and did not report the crime.

In addition to being physically abused, Cheyanne’s self worth was also being damaged.  Cheyanne’s boyfriend told her that she “looked ugly with curled hair” so Cheyanne stopped styling her hair in curls.  However, once she was able to escape his control with help from a different police department, she curled her hair again and found it made her smile.  This joy in the seemingly ordinary act of curling her hair is a moment in the film when viewers are reminded just how harmful domestic violence can be not just physically but also emotionally.  It is the point when we rejoice with Cheyanne as her curled hair reveals the return of her confidence, a trait that is already difficult for a teenage girl to hold onto.

When the new school year began, Cheyanne was determined to make her story known.  She dedicated her time to researching about teen violence and started the “Say Something Project.”  She raised money for her cause and informed others what she and many others have experienced.  Through the open classroom her teacher provided, Cheyanne was able to share her story with her classmates who were stunned by their peer’s terrifying experience but also inspired by her dedication to helping other mistreated girls.

Unfortunately Cheyanne’s abusive relationship is not uncommon.  However, Cheyanne is unique in that she found the strength to overcome her fear, report her boyfriend to the police even with his retaliation a possibility, and then share with others the horror she and many others endure as high school students.  Healing Voices has allowed Cheyanne to use her newfound voice to inform an even larger audience about domestic violence and how it hurts not only adults but also teens.  Cheyanne’s words encourage viewers to not be like the police officer who ignored her abuse.  Instead viewers are inspired to emulate the strong Cheyanne, her loving mother, and her teacher who created a setting where Cheyanne could safely share and educate others about teen violence, a too often overlooked issue.

 

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About JoAnne Tucker

JoAnne Tucker is the President of Healing Voices - Personal Stories, a non-profit organization with the mission of raising public awareness of women's strivings to overcome abusive trauma through the creation and distribution of film and video.
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