Monday, March 5, 2012

Continue to Raise Awareness!

Hearts on your sleeve, shoelaces, socks...whatever it might be, make sure you find a way to start the conversation on dating abuse. The month of February has ended but raising awareness and prevention about dating abuse shouldn't.

As I sat back and watched the Huguely trial this month, I was reminded of how prevalent dating abuse is in our society. Stories of abuse surface in our news regularly, a scary observation considering how the majority of victims remain silent.

Yet, we are still confused by abuse. Those having never experienced abuse before are wondering how anyone would ever let it happen, why the abused person didn't just leave. Those caught in the cycle of abuse are continuing to make and accept excuses, allowing the pattern to repeat itself over and over. Maybe the Huguely trial can remind us of how hard it is to break from abusiveness and therefore increase the need for prevention and awareness.

George Westley Huguely was born in September of 1987. He grew up in Maryland, attending an all-boys school and excelling in both lacrosse and football. He went on to attend the University of Virgina where he continued to play lacrosse. He formed a relationship with Yeardley Love, a member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams. Yeardley Love was found dead in her apartment on the morning of May 3, 2010. Cause of death was blunt force trauma. George Huguely was arrested on the suspicion of her death.

George Huguely was charged with first degree murder, felony murder, robbery of a residence, burglary, entering a house with an intent to commit a felony, and grand larceny. His trail took place during the month of February 2012. Throughout the trail, it was reported that he kept his head down, displaying clear signs of remorse. The defense presented many excuses for Huguely and his behavior and explained that he didn't mean to kill her. George Huguely's attorneys told juriors that he had made mistakes and was "immersed in a life of sports, sex, and alcohol." Regardless of the excuses, Yeardley Love was dead. The facts were presented. Witnesses took the stand. (For more information please google Huguely trail)

The jury felt he didn't mean it. Thank goodness they didn't excuse it. On February 22, 2012, George Huguely was found guilty of second degree murder and grand larceny. He is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, awaiting sentencing.

During a press conference, the prosecution stated that there were "no winners, nothing but loss everywhere."

This case reminds us that abuse is everywhere and can happen to anyone, regardless of race, social economic status, sexual orientation, age, religion, or gender.  Abuse can be in the form of emotional, physical, sexual, economical, or psychological. Abuse can get bad, bad enough to cause death.

Even though February had ended, the reasons to raise awareness and prevention have not. Get out there and continue to where your heart on your sleeve!

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