“Jessie” Disney star Debby Ryan said she was in an abusive, controlling relationship as a teenager and that experience led her to speak out against dating violence as part of the Mary Kay “Don’t Look Away” campaign.
Now 21, Ryan shared her story exclusively with Teen Vogue
and stressed that her long-term relationship with Josh Dun, drummer for Twenty One Pilots, was not the one she was talking about. The abusive relationship in her life wasn’t even romantic, she said.
Abuse can be physical, emotional, and verbal, said Ryan.
“People that demand your password and always look over your shoulder, ask who you're texting, and grab your phone and let themselves in – that's not OK," she told Teen Vogue.
Ryan told the teen magazine she was lucky because she had people to help her kick the guy out of the house, physically, when he started screaming, punching a wall, and cussing at her. “Then he started bawling and said he's sorry and loves me. And then grab[bed] me by the wrist and pull[ed] me in a bathroom and lock[ed] the door," she related about her experience.
It had such a strong effect on Ryan that she decided to become a spokesperson for Mary Kay’s “Don’t Look Away” campaign.
"I thought I was stronger than that, and it can make you feel weak," she told Teen Vogue. "To be able to know that you're worth more than that and fight for yourself is a really difficult thing."
The campaign offers the “first-ever text-for-help service,” said a Mary Kay press release
“I know firsthand how alone you can feel when you’re being broken down in a relationship and forced to defend it or stay silent. Just being able to send a text message is anonymous and safe,” Ryan said in the release. “Mary Kay and I believe that everyone deserves a safe, healthy relationship that makes you stronger and better and I want to make sure people know how to get the help they need.”
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