Sexual Assault Awareness and Self Defense Club hosts book talk on “It Ends With Us”


Photo by Mishael Gill ’23

The book talk was organized by the Sexual Assault Awareness and Self Defense Club in partnership with the Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC) and the Westport Domestic Violence Taskforce. DVCC prevention educator Nikkia Ellis used excerpts from “It Ends With Us” to highlight the signs of unhealthy relationships and foster student discussion about how to address dangerous behavior.

As part of a week-long campaign to be mindful about Teen Dating Awareness Violence Month, the Sexual Assault Awareness and Self Defense Club organized a book talk on “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover. The talk was held in the Staples Library during all three lunch waves on Feb. 7 and was hosted by a representative from Connecticut’s Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC).

“It Ends With Us” surged in popularity over the past two years when the book went viral in the #BookTok community on TikTok. The novel has sold over one million copies worldwide since its release in Aug. 2016 and its romance has particularly caught the attention of teens and young adults. Notably, the story focuses on a young woman’s journey to prioritize her own well being and break away from an abusive relationship.

“It Ends With Us” surged in popularity over the past two years when the book went viral in the #BookTok community on TikTok.”

— Mishael Gill ’23

The book follows the story of Lily Corrigan, a young entrepreneur who moves to Boston and meets a dashing neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid. Lily and Ryle spark a close relationship, and find themselves married before long—however, Ryle consistently abuses Lily. Lily often leaves these incidents unaddressed because she constantly compares Ryle to her highly-abusive father.

During the discussion, Nikkia Ellis, prevention educator at the DVCC, introduced several excerpts from the story that illustrate signs of unhealthy relationships.

“I definitely think that the author did a great job of showing the complexities of how you can love someone even if they are harmful and abusive,” Ellis said. “However, there are definitely a ton of red flags, and I am really hoping that the teens and young adults that are reading this book aren’t romanticizing the red flags.”

During the book talk, students referred to the One Love Foundation’s 10 signs of unhealthy relationships and learned about the various community resources available to them if they are struggling with a romantic partner. (Photo by Mishael Gill ’23)

To draw awareness to these red flags, Ellis went over the One Love Foundation’s 10 signs of unhealthy relationships. According to One Love, recognizing and addressing unhealthy signs such as volatility, guilting and isolation early on in a relationship can prevent the escalation to abuse. Using scenes from the story, students were able to discuss how to address possessive or manipulative behaviors from romantic partners and the resources that are available to them should they seek help.

According to Charlotte Gurley ’23, reading “It Ends With Us” can open up more discussion surrounding domestic abuse.

“Colleen Hoover wrote about the perspective that her mom went through,” Gurley said. so reading about unhealthy relationships could probably help someone who is in [that situation].”