Disney Channel actress Debby Ryan has revealed she was a victim of domestic violence in the hope she can help other young women reach out for help.
The Jessie star, 21, has teamed up with cosmetics company Mary Kay for the Don't Look Away campaign for a new texting campaign designed to help young people seek out healthy relationships.
As Ryan promoted her new partnership on U.S. network Fox News on Monday (09Mar15), she revealed the reason the project is close to her heart, because she too was involved in an abusive relationship.
She confessed, "I got to a point in a relationship that I was in where I realised that every relationship... love is hard and fighting for a relationship is so much work and can be so beautiful, and if you’re going to fight so hard for something that does not make you stronger and better and build you up, something's wrong.
"I got to a point of being grabbed, being locked out of rooms, being screamed at, having things thrown at me, cussed at, begged for forgiveness, cried to, all while trying to keep it together and justifying this relationship. And that was the point that I realised maybe there was a red flag.
"What was weird was that I didn't realise all the unhealthy things - the digital abuse, him demanding my phone passwords, the mental abuse, the manipulation, the emotional abuse."
Ryan hopes the 'loveisrespect' texting initiative will help girls who are scared to ask for help, just like she was when she realised her relationship couldn't continue.
She said, "That (getting help) was so hard, because of this is in some way being convinced or trained to justify it and to deny it, and that was a huge thing. I had people fighting for me saying, 'I feel like this isn't right? Are you Ok? Is this what you want'.
"People asking me questions was a little bit of what woke me up but I think it was definitely a moment. He threw his phone at me and it shattered. I ducked and it shattered and... it was insane. It was such a heavy situation. I didn't realise until it got to that point that it didn't add up and something was wrong. It was crazy."
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