With so much negativity coming out of the collective noise of Hollywood’s early-to-mid-twenty-something stars and the gossip mills they fuel, it’s nice to notice and recognize when someone does something that’s actually a GOOD thing. (And of course, it’s also smart, because when we focus on good things, we get more of them!)
If you watch ABC’s Modern Family, you know who Hailey Dunphey is – the daughter of bumbling Phil and stressed-out Claire. She’s a beautiful, seemingly vapid (at first glance) girl who turns out to be super smart when it suits her.
The actress that plays her, though, hasn’t had such an easy go of it so far. In fact, it seems that as her star has risen over the past four years, her behind-the-scenes, real life have been pretty hellish.
Lesson 1: Even beautiful, successful women can be silent victims of abuse.
According to the Daily Mail Online, her rep offered a statement from her attorney Lee A Sherman, which noted that “On September 19, 2014, Ms. Hyland obtained a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order against Matthew Prokop.The documents filed speak for themselves.”
The statement continues: “Out of respect for the court, the process and all parties, I have advised Ms. Hyland not to comment on the matter. We request that you respect the parties’ privacy during this time.”
Additionally, Hyland alleged in the court papers that she “experienced four years of abuse at his hands during their relationship.”
“His grip was so tight that I could not breathe or speak,” she said in the documents of a violent incident with Prokop in May. “I was scared and in fear for my life.”
Sadly, Hyland is not alone in her plight. According to SafeHorizon.org, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That’s 25% of us.
(Read More of Sarah Hyland’s story from The Daily Mail, Link Below)
Lesson Two: No woman deserves to be abused, and every woman has the right to stand up for herself.
As a young woman who is idolized by girls around the world, I think Hyland’s actions are the best she could’ve taken. Too many young women, especially in her age group and those in their late teens, are far too willing to accept “whatever” in order to remain attached to a man.
Safe Horizon says that women ages 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
While you might think that Hyland accepted the abuse for too long, she’s doing something right NOW.
By standing up now and publicly declaring that domestic violence NOT OK, Sarah Hyland is showing women around the world that they have the right to be safe. She is also offering herself a huge support network by going public with this one. Go Sarah!
Lesson Three: Get involved if you see a friend or loved one getting abused. (It might literally save their lives.)
A few more sobering statistics from Safe Horizon:
- Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
- Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
- Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
According to the TMZ, court papers note that Hyland has said that it was only thanks to her TV mom Julie Bowen that she felt strong enough to break free from the tumultous 4-year relationship.
We may not fully understand how seriously Hyland was being abused, but the fact is that abusers kill their victims on an all-too-often basis.
If someone you know is in an abusive relationship and is in physical danger, you have a responsibility to stand up and say something. Julie Bowen’s support helped Sarah Hyland step away in a very public way, but you can support a loved one in a much quieter way by just offering help and support as you are able. If nothing else, you can connect them with the right resources.
So what do you think? Did Sarah Hyland do the right thing, and what would you say to her if you could?
Excerpt from the Daily Mail Online:
Threatened: The 23-year-old claimed in court documents that she was physically abused by Matt during their four-year relationship
In the court filing she also says she had sustained injuries with a ‘very sore throat following this event.’
Sarah then described how she got her TV mother Julie Bowen involved to help her ‘peacefully end the relationship.’
The actress, who plays Julie’s daughter Haley Dunphy on the hit ABC comedy, flew out her beau to his home in Texas earlier this year.
But when Matt arrived and saw everyone in his house, including Julie, he ‘ran outside into the backyard and began screaming,’ according to the documents.
Seeking help: Matt, who had a stint on Modern Family and co-starred with her in Disney Channel movie Geek Charming, entered rehab in August
Sarah said he threw a ‘lighter’ at her, which triggered Julie to step in and get her out of the house as she ‘wasn’t safe’.
She also claimed that Matt threatened to commit arson by setting one of her homes on fire and to get rid of her dog.
Following their split, Sarah said her former boyfriend ‘relentlessly bombarded me with vile, threatening and emotionally disturbing texts and voice mails including his own suicide threats.’
The former couple started dating after meeting while auditioning for High School Musical 3: Senior Year in 2008. They later starred together in the Disney Channel film Geek Charming in 2011.
Read more about Sarah Hyland’s story at the Daily Mail click here