SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – The motives of some men are being questioned. That’s because nearly half of college women say they’ve witnessed some kind of an abusive dating relationship.
17-year-old Sara Elliott of Sandy, Utah is one of these young women. When she was just 14-years-old and a student in middle school, she lost her virginity to her 17-year-old high school boyfriend.
“I didn't like it and asked him to stop. And he didn't. He didn't listen to me. It was just ‘when I'm done I'll stop,’” said Sara.
Liz Claiborne Inc. conducted the Love Is Not Abuse 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll. It surveyed 508 college students from 18 to 29-years-old. 43% of them reported they’d experienced violent of abusive dating behaviors.
“I guess I felt like that's what I deserved 3.50 or that he was somebody that really cared about me,” said Sara.
Nearly a third, 29%, of the women surveyed reported being a victim of an abusive relationship.
38% said they wouldn’t know how or where to get help.
58 % said they wouldn’t know how to help another victim.
After about six months in the abusive relationship Sara’s family found out and intervened.
“She used to be bubbly and have fun but she was quiet,” said Sara’s father David Elliott.
Her parents immediately had her go to counseling.
“I told my counselor that I hated her and that it wasn't him it was me. And it was all fine,” said Sara.
Sara’s boyfriend was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. His punishment was 50 hours of community service, counseling and a written apology to Sara.
“It's something that I just don't want to go through again,” said David.
But, what came next was almost as devastating.
“I got text messages from him and his friends telling me that I should kill myself. That I wasn't worth anything…and girls told me that they were going to beat me up,” said Sara.
It was a lonely road for Sara but after looking at the numbers from the study released Wednesday she certainly isn’t alone.
If you or someone you know is in what could be an abusive relationship talk to someone and get help. Full study: Live Is Not Abuse 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll
Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention
Utah domestic violence resources
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