Shawn Mendes is a homegrown celebrity who’s quickly becoming a household name, and his latest track, “Treat You Better,” may be his most important one yet.
The powerful song addresses abusive relationships. Here are seven things we thought while watching the eye-opening video.
1. Toxic relationships are common
We’ve all been here at some point in our lives. The levels of abuse in a relationship differ, but chances are that most of us have found ourselves in a toxic relationship with someone who is just not right for us.
2. We all deserve happiness
The lyrics of the song are incredibly moving, as Mendes sings, “I know I can treat you better than he can/And any girl like you deserves a gentleman.” While this might seem like a typical romantic pop song, it’s actually a very important message: Never settle for anyone who treats you badly. Know your worth, and don’t let someone tell you that you don’t deserve everything you want.
3. Take the good with the bad
No relationship is perfect, and as this video clearly shows, there can be moments of calm during a volatile relationship, and it can be easy to forget the bad times if you’re holding out for more of the good times to come in the future. For someone who has never experienced domestic violence, it can be difficult to understand why someone would stay with their abuser. According to The Advocacy Center, these reasons include fear, hope for change, money, pressure from friends or family and simply not knowing that help is out there.
But help is out there, and in a healthy relationship, you don’t have to wait for the good times. That’s not to say everything will be perfect like some fairytale romance from a Disney movie, but a good relationship should never cause you pain.
4. Mendes’ youth plays an important role
Mendes might be young, but he’s not afraid to tackle serious topics. This is so incredibly important because, according to a Statistics Canada report, young women (15 to 24 years old) are most at risk of violent crime.
5. There’s always someone you can speak to
It may not seem like it, but there are always people you can speak to about an abusive relationship. In the video, Mendes is the guy trying to stop the abuse, but in real life you can turn to friends, family members or remain anonymous by contacting various hotlines and organisations. These include Canada’s Domestic Abuse Services, Assaulted Women’s Helpline and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. You can also find a comprehensive list of crisis centres and helplines on Feminist.org.
6. Know when to walk away
Mendes’ video gave us a lot to think about, but it also proved that sometimes you need to know when to walk away from a relationship.
7. We need change
Domestic violence statistics are shockingly high. According to Battered Women’s Support Services, one woman is killed by her intimate partner every six days, on average, in Canada, and “up to 70 percent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime — the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.”
This is something we need to speak about in order to create awareness and encourage those who are being abused to seek help. Mendes also includes the information for The National Domestic Violence Hotline at the end of his video, telling fans that it’s OK to ask for help.