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When Bad Boys Kill

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"Many are asking, how could this have happened?"

The article (People, May 24, 2010) about the homicide of Yeardley Love could just as easily have asked, "Why are people surprised that George Huguely is accused of murdering Yeardley Love?"

According to People, it was known that Love and Huguely had a troubled relationship, and that he had anger issues.

According to CBS news Huguely "had a run-in with a Lexington, VA police officer, a female officer who felt so threatened she had to use a Taser to take him into custody. He was charged with resisting arrest and public intoxication."

According to the New York Daily News, University of Virginia lacrosse players adhered to the code of silence that permeates locker rooms and dorm rooms Thursday, refusing to comment on former teammate George Huguely, who was been charged in the slaying of his former girlfriend Yeardley Love, or on reports that he had a history of aggressive behavior.

Yeardley Love died from a young man's out of control anger. Could it have been prevented if there hadn't been a conspiracy of silence from his teammates? If the University of Virginia had shown a true knowledge of in loco parentis?

According to Clint Van Zandt of MSNBC news:

1) "The U.S. Dept of Education, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service recently released an extensive research report that indicated the incidents of college campus violence had drastically increased in the past 20 years.

2) One-in-five women who attend college will be the victim of a sexual assault during her four years on campus.

3) The Parents Television Council recently found that portrayals of violence against women on television are on the rise, reporting that in the past five years violence directed against women rose 120 percent and the rate of increased violence concerning teenagers rose 400 percent. The Council further reported such increases represent graphic examples of beatings, rapes, torture and murder, plus at times, even the trivialization of such crimes.

Our sons, our husbands, our brother and our fathers play with these games that dehumanize women and yet we profess shock when our daughters, wives, sisters and mothers are raped and killed.

After working with men who batter for almost 10 years, I can vouch for this: these men are not very different from the young man who might be dating your daughter or who you might meet at a singles event. They wear no sign alerting you to danger. They know how to be charming, funny, generous and loving.

In the beginning.

Most of the batterers were classic bad boys; they could charm like no one else. I wish I could share with every woman the experience of sitting in a circle with 15 court-remanded bad boys. I can't put you in that room, but I can tell you what a bad boy will do before he uses his fists--and this is the time to get out.

1) When you and your bad boy have that insane fight, and you don't know how it began, or why he stormed out the door--when you're ready to follow him so you can beg his forgiveness but you don't have any idea what to apologize for, here's what's really going on:

He wanted to get out of the house. That's why he caused the fight. The men I worked with admitted it proudly.

2) What did most men admit was the most common goal of these awful battles? To get you to "shut the f*** up." When the battles don't work, that's when the fists come out.

3) Does he tell you "you're the only one I've ever been able to talk to?" Yeah. Right. First of all, he's probably said the same thing to 100 other women. Because he knows it's like catnip. The men I worked with were very clear that they used this line only to manipulate.

4) When he says, "I can't live without you," here's a news flash. Yes he can. And he will. Quite well. The question is, can you live with him? Do you want to?

5) You want to believe it will get better. If you explain it once more, write one more email, cry one more time, then finally he will understand! And once he understands, those moments of incredible tenderness and bliss will last forever!

I promise you, things will not get better. There's nothing you can do unless he wants to change, and the cycle will continue as long as you believe it's you who needs to change.

So here's my advice, as a mother, a sister, a friend and most of all, as a woman who heard the truth from those bad boys:

Get out before the fists fly.
And choose kind over thrilling. It wears better.

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