May 30, 2009

Miss Washington Led a 'Double Life' of Domestic Violence

Miss Washington led a 'double life' of domestic violence- it can happen to anyone
May 28, 4:38 PM

Former Miss Washington, Elyse Umemoto, has recently revealed that she was in an abusive relationship during her year representing the state. Two weeks after the Yakima-native finished in the top three of the 2008 Miss America pageant, she was brutally assaulted by her boyfriend and left bruised and battered. It was part of a pattern of abuse in the relationship that had started in 2007. She hid the violence during her reign, living what she called a "double life".

Now, Umemoto has come forward to tell her story to help other women. "If this can happen to me - I was almost Miss America - nobody's exempt," she told the Seattle Times.

The pageant winner continued her work as Miss Washington, all while dealing with the justice system. Umemoto filed charges against her boyfriend, and he was ultimately sentenced to 240 hours of community service and two years probation. Today, she is speaking publically about the abuse because she wants other women and teens to know they are not alone and can seek out help.

Domestic abuse is a difficult issue, and it is courageous of Umemoto to speak out about her experiences. When the public became fixated on the domestic abuse of singer Rihanna by her boyfriend, Chris Brown, another singer, it showed how little sympathy victims get. Many blamed Rihanna for the abuse, accusing her of trying to damage Brown's career. Perhaps most disturbing, many teen girls felt Rihanna had deserved what had happened to her.

It is critical that we talk to teens- both girls and boys- about the realities of abusive relationships. They need to understand it is not acceptable to hit or abuse your partner. If your partner is abusing you, you have the right to get help. No one don't deserves the abuse. Most important, teens need to know that they will be believed and respected if they ask for help, even when they feel ashamed. It doesn't take a lot, but it can do so much to protect our kids.

Source: Seattle Times

No comments:

Post a Comment