You may recognize 19-year-old Jasmine Villegas as that girl who got real close to Justin Bieber in his “Baby” video (like holding hands, touching faces close), sending millions of Beliebers to jealous-town, USA. Well, Jasmine’s back with her own video premiere for “Didn’t Mean It”-- and we are still wiping our tears over her mission to bring awareness to domestic abuse.
“Didn’t Mean It”, which premiered on Buzzworthy last week, is one of those rare, bone-chilling videos. We watch as Jasmine gets slapped by her boyfriend and dragged across the room. We watch as she struggles to let her abusive boyfriend go. Then, we watch as the singer finds the amazing strength to pack up her suitcases and leave her abuser. You can watch the video below.
Domestic violence is all too real for Jasmine, who was in an abusive relationship for over a year. "What he 'didn't mean' was all the times he put me down, all the verbal and emotional abuse. It's all the negative things he said and did including the times he physically abused me," explained Jasmine about the title of her song.
Through her music video the soulful songstress is using her own experience to create awareness for domestic violence, to let victims know that they don’t need to live in shame and to inspire all to take action against abuse. The end of “Didn’t Mean It” shares some scary statistics:
+Nearly 15 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
+ One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
+Only 33% of teens who have ever been in an abusive relationship have reported it.
Domestic violence is far-reaching and under-reported. If you or someone you know is a victim, do like Jasmine and get help ASAP with resources such as Love Is Respect. Jasmine's video is really resonating with her fans too. A few days after the video premiered, Love Is Respect saw a big increase in in calls, chats and texts about dating abuse. Jasmine took some time to chat with us about her music video, her personal experience with dating abuse and how to speak out about it.
Photo: (Mike Ho)
MTV ACT: How did you find the courage to leave your abusive relationship? Who or what did you turn to for comfort?
JASMINE: What gave me the courage to leave was honestly God. It got to the point where my self-esteem was so low that I actually started believing it was my fault and that I deserved it. In my weakest moment, God me sent an angel who put a stop to everything. In one of our more severe fights, there was a random stranger outside the house who heard the fighting and called the police. When the cops came I knew it was probably going to be my only escape. That's when I broke down and realized how dangerous my situation was and I got the strength to walk away from the relationship and NEVER LOOK BACK.
MTV ACT: What advice can you give to someone who is currently in an abusive relationship or whose friend are in abusive relationship?
JASMINE: My advice is that if you are in or know someone that's in an abusive relationship it NEVER gets better. I tried to believe that things would change for the better but it only got worst. My advice would be to go to organizations like Love Is Respect and research online how you can get help. There's also a hotline number you can call 24 hrs a day 1-866-331-9474 to speak to someone who can help you. You can also text "loveis" to 77054. Overall just remember that you have to take action and get out! You can't ignore the situation, it will not go away.
MTV ACT: Since your video premiere Love Is Respect received an increase in calls, texts and chat. How do you feel about the fact that your video is sparking people to take action?
JASMINE: That makes all the work we put into the video worthwhile! That's the reason I wanted to share my story. I love being an artist but it's the most rewarding feeling when your music speaks for a cause and makes a difference in someone's life.
MTV ACT: What can others do to prevent domestic abuse and raise awareness about this deeply important issue?
JASMINE: Domestic abuse is a huge problem especially amongst teenagers and I feel that's partly because the issue doesn't have the awareness it needs. I remember in my school they talked about different kids of issues but I don't remember anyone ever speaking about domestic violence. Even if you haven't experienced domestic violence the chances are there is someone around that has or is currently going through it. I would encourage everyone to visit websites like Love Is Respect or No More and get information about spreading awareness.