One out of every 5 college females will experience some form of dating violence. It usually starts with simple control issues, then verbal and physical abuse. In extreme cases, it can lead to death. A UNCW student we will refer to as Kay knows all to well what it is like to be in a violent relationship. We have hidden her identity for her protection. Kay said, "I've been held to the ground and one incident was really bad. I don't know why my neighbors didn't call the cops because I was screaming at the top of my lungs – ‘get off me!’." She was in an abusive relationship for 2 years. At first, it was perfect. Her boyfriend said he loved her, and always wanted to be with her. Then he became controlling. He was angry when she went out with friends, or had to work late. UNCW professor Jerry Bagnell works with victims like Kay. He said her situation is similar to many others. "The true dangers run the spectrum from just being intimidated to and having someone call you names to abuse and death," said Bagnell. Kay knew she was in danger, but was afraid of what he would do to her if she told. "He said he would kill himself if I told someone, or threatening to hurt me locking me in rooms." "It's safer to end the relationship, not announce it to the guy in advance. In other words, walk out, go home, leave, whatever. Because when you tell the person the relationship is over you've told them you've lost control,” said Professor Bagnell. She eventually reached out to her family, friends and UNCW counselors for help. "I had to separate myself from him completely. I had to change my phone number and move," Kay said. Kay wants others to learn from her experience. She wants others to get out of a bad relationship, before it is too late. "It's not you, it's him, and what he's doing is wrong and you have to get out of it," added Kay. Another part of dating violence is date rape. WWAY will take an in-depth look at that issue Monday. Professor Bagnell will hold a number of dating violence classes on Monday. They are free and open to students and the general public. They will take place at Leutze Hall at UNCW at 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. If you have, or are a victim of dating violence, report it. For support, advice or more information call the UNCW Counseling Center at 910-962-3746.
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