YouTube Story Time Animators Sharing Experiences with Abuse


Shreya Chaudhary, Editor-in-Chief

Recently, Family Violence Protection Services (FVPS) spoke to the Keynote staff about their mission—to break the cycle of abuse—and the different types of abuse—physical, psychological, and more. When first hearing their presentation, what truly elevates impact is stories. Whereas in many movies, nonconsensual relationships are romanticized, these YouTubers have been sharing their real stories to bring light upon what behavior is clearly not okay. So, without further ado, here are a few stories shared by YouTube animators about abuse which I believe are worth watching.


Harassed at Chick-fil-A (Work Stories)

This animated video, voiced and animated by Ilyssa (“illymations”), is the first and—to my knowledge—only “Work Stories” Ilyssa has uploaded. Especially with serious videos, striking a balance between comedic lines (critical to the success of many animators) and the repulsiveness of the entire situation can be difficult, but I believe Ilyssa was able to balance it well. One of my favorite touches to the video was the addition of a side character—usually depicting a possible critical viewer—and Ilyssa’s reaction to the character. From what I have observed, in many YouTube animators’ videos, the addition of the extra voice asking questions that might pass the viewers’ minds is a helpful and powerful tool, and Ilyssa essentially uses this character as a myth debunker, widening the gap between what a common person may expect and what actually is happening. 


My Secret “Boyfriend” ft. Sultan Sketches and Escaping My “Boyfriend” ft. Sultan Sketches

In this technically three-part series (I excluded the first video because it was mostly context, but if you watch the series, definitely start there), Alex (“Alex’s Corner”) talks about her experience with grooming with one of her friends from camp. Grooming, as she defines it, is the use of a variety of manipulative and controlling techniques with a vulnerable subject… in order to establish trust or normalise sexually harmful behaviours.” She discusses the entire story—from first meeting the guy to finally standing up to him and saying no with help from her friend. This story is one of her more serious videos, with little to no jokes throughout the videos, which I find fitting for this retelling. 


How I Met My Abusive (ex) Boyfriend and How I Left My Abusive (ex) Boyfriend

These are two more stories by Ilyssa (“illymations”) with a far darker tone than her first video. Throughout these two videos, Ilyssa recounts her painful and awful experience in an abusive relationship for five years, starting when she was thirteen. With far fewer jokes and a more didactic spin, throughout these videos, Ilyssa shares her stories to raise awareness about abuse, specifically her experience with emotional abuse which later led to other types of abuse, especially to help protect her primary age audience: teenagers. While the content is family-friendly and anything graphic is redacted, the story can be disturbing and difficult to watch in its entirety, but of all of the videos on this list, I highly recommend watching these two videos.