End the Silence on Domestic Violence: Teen Dating Violence: Mallory, Lisa

A Victim's Reality

Research shows that one in three teenagers know someone their age who's been hit, kicked or choked by his or her partner. Other research suggests that 98 percent of teenage girls who have been abused continue to date their abuser.

Watch this dramatization to see just how quickly teen relationships can spin out of control.


Mallory, 19, says the dramatization looks very familiar to her.

Her mother, Lisa, believes her daughter is in an abusive relationship and is in danger.

Although Mallory, who's eight months pregnant, agrees that her relationship with her boyfriend, Brett, is abusive, she says she wants to stay with him. "I know there are some times he can be good, and now that I'm pregnant, I feel like I should be with him," she says.

Dr. Phil finds out just how abusive Brett is.

[AD]Dr. Phil emphasizes to Mallory that the abuse is not her fault, no matter what Brett says, that it's not OK, and that she has a higher duty to protect her child.

Mallory says she understands that abuse is not OK, but admits she still feels an attachment to Brett.

"The main thing that concerns me is she's said many times that if there was no baby, there would be no Brett," Lisa says. "And to me that's saying she would not be with him if there wasn't a baby. I don't think that Mallory understands that sometimes two people just can't be together."

Right before Mallory found out she was pregnant, she learned Brett was cheating on her. She admits that she was glad to find out she was expecting, so she didn't have to break up with Brett. "I thought I had a reason to stay with him and not have to get over him and move on," she says.

Dr. Phil points out that she's putting her child's life in danger to avoid going through the emotions of a breakup. "You're going through what victims of abuse go through," he tells her.

Dr. Phil goes over a list of what makes up a victim's reality and notes that every item relates to Mallory and Brett's relationship:

A Victim's Reality:

  • Suffers isolation
  • Apologizes/makes excuses for abuser
  • Called names
  • Life threatened
  • Intimidated
  • Controlled: Where to go, what to wear, who to see
  • Physically harmed
  • Has property destroyed
  • Children threatened
  • Endures emotional extortion

[AD]Parents, do you wonder if your daughter is in an abusive relationship? Go through this checklist!


"What is your thought about your baby's safety?" Dr. Phil asks Mallory.

"I don't want him to hurt her, and I'm really scared that he might, or he will get mad at her and yell at her for no reason, like he does me, and I don't want her to believe that that's right," she says.

"Tell me again why you want to stay with this person who has been so consistently cruel with you," Dr. Phil says.

Mallory admits that sometimes she just likes having a boyfriend and someone to love her. "I don't want to be alone. I'm scared for him to be with somebody else," she says.

"Do you think you've set the bar really low here? You want him to stay here and abuse you, instead of him being with someone else?" he asks.

Mallory says she was raised in a family where both parents remained together, and she wants that for her daughter.

Dr. Phil tells Lisa he's concerned that Mallory has set the bar too low.

Lisa agrees. "She keeps thinking that it's just going to get better, magically," she says.

Dr. Phil agrees that teens today do have an attitude that relationships have to be "magical." He uses the movie Twilight as an example, which he recently watched. "I've got to tell you, I was creeped out the entire time," he says.


[AD]Teens, are you in an abusive relationship? Take this quiz!

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please reach out for help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233). Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information and local resources, go to the National Network to End Domestic Violence: NNEDV.org.