News articles about dating violence

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They were at a party, and Joe (not his real name), the cute football player she’d been dating, had kicked her, hard, propelling her into a wall, where she had hit her head and blacked out.

“I woke up and he was hovering over me,” Sarah, now 18, recalls.

Sarah Van Zanten, 15, was lying on the floor, an ice pack on her aching ribs.

For a moment, she had no idea where she was; then her boyfriend’s face came into focus.

According to a Harvard study of 4,163 public high school girls in 2001, nearly 1 in 5 reported physical or sexual abuse in a relationship.

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“I was seeing Sarah less and less,” recalls Jeremy Carlson, 18.He sent me instant message after instant message.” Sarah printed and kept some of the dozens which were sent minutes apart: “i never wanted to scare u,” he wrote in one; another said, “i would never hurt you and i hope u dont honestly think I would.” A few days later Joe surprised Sarah while she was jogging, presenting another bouquet of roses. (PEOPLE’s multiple calls to Joe and his family were not returned.) Just before Valentine’s Day, 2005, Sarah met Joe at a party.By the time she arrived with a girlfriend, she says, Joe was drunk.Something she said—to this day she doesn’t know what—enraged him.“He snapped,” Sarah says, still wincing at the memory.

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