Surreal Short Shows What Happens When We Confuse Abuse With Love

1 in 3 teens reports experiencing some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships.

When most people think of domestic abuse, they often think of physical violence. But emotional and verbal abuse can be just as harmful — and sometimes harder to detect. Day One, a New York City-based nonprofit working to prevent dating abuse and domestic violence among youth, hopes to help teens understand the importance of knowing the difference between love and abuse. 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), "a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it." As part of its participation in TDVAM, the Day One organization teamed up with filmmaker Guilherme Marcondes to create a public service announcement that shows how damaging an emotionally abusive relationship can be

The animated short titled "Sunshine" starts out feeling like a lighthearted rom-com as the young couple begins their relationship, but we soon see that this is no love story. The PSA utilizes surreal elements, such as tentacles that grab the young woman from her boyfriend's car and pull her into a hellish nightmare, to showcase the pain of emotional abuse. The boyfriend she thought was sweet and thoughtful is actually abusive and narcissistic. He isolates her from her friends and gaslights her, leaving her to question her own sanity. 

One in three teens reports experiencing some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, according to Day One. 

"Even a one-time incident of dating violence is NOT ok," the organization writes on its website. "In abusive relationships, there is a pattern of controlling and/or violent behavior: the abuse happens again and again, and it gets worse over time." 

Hopefully, their new PSA will help people recognize this abuse and seek resources to help stop it. 

If you, or someone you know, needs help, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline and LoveIsrespect for information, resources, and 24/7 live support.

(H/T: Adweek

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