Upon the recent news of “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” Ronnie Magro’s arrest for domestic violence and kidnapping early Friday morning, social media has been buzzing with controversy of Magro’s on-again, off-again toxic relationship with girlfriend, Jenn Harley.  

Blame is being thrown in many different directions regarding the capacity of toxic behavior in the` couple’s relationship. Some believe Harley is to blame, saying after Magro underwent rehabilitation he was doing much better until he decided to get back with her.

Others are pointing to Magro as he is the one who makes his own choices and directs his own actions. Of course, though, no one ever knows the real story; we make assumptions based on headlines and then pick the side of whichever icon we like or relate to more.  

However, trying to pick a side and discern truth from false accusations isn't truly the conversation we should be having. Instead, we should be discussing the gravity of domestic and verbal abuse in relationships. We, as a society, should be putting more emphasis on the concerns of those in toxic relationships rather than feeding into the “drama” seen from the outside looking in.  

This example of Magro and Harley is only used as a reference to all the abuse that goes on in the world for people in relationships. The two people in this relationship have both been the victim and the abuser in their relationship.

The couple has faced many different charges, arrests and issues during the two years they have been on and off. While this may seem like it’s just more reality TV show drama, the truth is this is a serious issue that should not merely be dismissed just because of the celebrity status of the couple.

Magro and Harley aren’t the only ones who go through these toxic patterns; nor are they the only couple engaged in a cycle of domestic violence. Many people all around the world no matter the wealth, social status, age, or any other form of demographic, experience domestic violence every day.

Countless men and women remain in abusive or toxic relationships due to either the lack of resources to be able to get out of that relationship or the misconstrued belief that these patterns are an expression of love, both of which are equally as devastating. While there are other factors that contribute to why people remain in abusive relationships, these two are the most common. For this couple, it seems that the toxic behavior and patterns are normalized for them, and they think these patterns are just a form of love.

In July, Harley was quoted on US Weekly saying, “Most people don’t want to hear this, but real relationships that last involve a lot of forgiveness...you have to accept that your partner isn’t perfect and will hurt you, disappoint you, and upset you. You have to figure out if you’re willing to go through ups and downs with them.” This quote came months after the couple had already been experiencing domestic violence and turmoil.

The thing about this quote though is that it should absolutely not apply to domestic or emotional abuse in your relationship. There is a fine but clear line between normal ups and downs in a relationship and abuse.

Many people who break up and get back together on and off experience toxic behaviors and patterns within their relationship, but the issue is when you are in these relationships, you are blind to how abnormal these things are and essentially become numb to it.  

Physical altercations and manipulation are not normal in a relationship; they are not signs of love. It is important to know that no matter how attached you may feel to a person, someone who truly loves and respects you would never treat you in such a way. Apologizing repeatedly for the same violent issues does not mean they care. Apologizing repeatedly only means that these actions are so normalized and numb in a relationship that it seems a part of a routine.

Both men and women experience this type of behavior from their partner, and it may seem almost impossible to get out of the relationship because of either comfort, dependency, or fear.  Whatever the cause is for remaining in these toxic relationships, there is a stigma around those involved.

We often look at these relationships and judge or blame the people involved; we mostly blame the victim for not leaving or getting help. The issue behind this is that when we project blame on the victim, we are only adding more hurt and pain; not every victim has the strength to leave, and this is not their fault.

As a society, instead of looking at people in these types of relationships and judging them or carelessly talking about what is going on, we should be seeking to help those who are suffering get out of these relationships. Of course, there is only so much that can be done on an onlooker's part; some will never leave these toxic relationships, whatever the reason.

In addition to this, some victims don’t see the issue because this type of behavior is all they have known and continue to think it is love. All we can do is be there for victims and embrace them with compassion and love each time instead of judgment and anger.

We need to let those involved in these abusive relationships and domestic violence patterns know that there is a better world outside of these relationships and that no matter how tough it may seem to leave; it can be done and there is healing waiting for them.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, please call 1800-799-7233 to get help.  

Also, visit ncadv.org to read more about the statistics and signs of abuse or to see how you can help a victim.

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