Chapel Hill police continue to investigate the death of Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, a 19-year-old UNC student whose body was found in her apartment in early September.
Early in the investigation, and without releasing details about the cause of Hedgepeth’s death, police indicated they believed her death was not the result of a random act of violence.
Hundreds of students gathered on Sept. 10 in the Pit to mourn. Hedgepeth, who grew up in Halifax County, had long been active in the American Indian community.
Over the following weeks, little new information emerged. In early January, police shared additional information.
A statement issued by the Chapel Hill Police Department said the investigation had found that Hedgepeth and her roommate had been at a local nightclub, The Thrill, in the early hours of Sept. 7. They also said that Hedgepeth was last known to be alive at about 3 a.m. at the apartment she shared with her roommate and that DNA evidence collected at the apartment was left by a male suspect.
Investigators have consulted other agencies, including the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, leading them to believe that:
- The homicide suspect was familiar with the victim and may have lived near the victim in the past.
- The suspect was unaccounted for during the early hours of Sept. 7, 2012.
- The suspect may have made comments regarding the victim to close associates in the past.
- There may have been some change in the suspect’s behavior after the murder (to include an unusual interest in the case) or a change in his performance at work or school.
A reward of up to $39,000, including $25,000 pledged by the Board of Trustees, has been offered for information leading to an arrest. The police department has appealed to anyone with information about the death to call the police department’s tip line at (919) 614-6363 or the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.
Hedgepeth was part of the Haliwa-Saponi American Indian Tribe in Warren County. At Carolina, she was involved with Unheard Voices, an a cappella group; Carolina Indian Circle; and Alpha Pi Omega sorority.
She received a Gates Millennium Scholarship and an Alston-Pleasants Scholarship to attend UNC.Via CBS News Crimesider
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Dear Mrs. Obama:
I am writing to you today because I respect you very much, and I know how important both the issues of Domestic Violence and the right of everyone to have Affordable Health Care are to you.
I want to introduce you to an amazing woman and advocate Susan Murphy- Milano. Susan is currently dying of Cancer due to the lack of Health Insurance. Everywhere she applied for help turned her down and she was informed that she did not qualify for their services. I know you agree that there is something terribly wrong when a country as great as ours can let this happen to anyone, yet alone someone who has devoted her entire life to saving the lives of others and without once thinking about what it could mean to her own.
Susan grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a 30-year veteran Chicago Police Detective and Violent Crimes Investigator Phillip Murphy. Susan’s father murdered her mother in 1989 and then turned the gun on himself committing suicide. His intent was to kill his daughter as well. On the way to the house to try to save her mother something made her take an unexpected turn on the way. This decision is the only reason Susan is alive today. Had she taken her normal route Susan would not be with us now! Susan lived a life of trying to keep her mother alive her entire life and after her mother was murdered she devoted her entire life to saving others.
This most amazing woman is now on her last days after putting up a good fight. I am writing you today because I know you care. I know you care about the women and children in this country, the state of our health care, and every person’s God given human right. It is not just women and children that Susan has saved; there is no gender bias when it comes to abuses towards another.
Susan is the leading expert on Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence, and at the time when she discovered she had Cancer she was already in stage 4. This all happened just as her lifelong dreams were coming true. Susan is the women who mentored Rev. Neil Schori , Stacy Peterson’s Pastor and taught him everything he knows about Intimate Partner violence. Together they created The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit which is a legal document that can be used in court as legal testimony even if the victim is murdered or missing.
This tragic news about Susan came just as her lifelong work was getting known. Susan was getting invitations from law enforcement agencies all over the country to come and train Law Enforcement and first responders what to look for when they answer a call, or respond to a crime scene. She was preparing to start working at a University where she was given Carte Blanche and offered full use of the Universities resources to help her with her work. She did not apply to work at this University they came to her asking her to please come and head this project. Susan was offered her own Television Show which was scheduled to air this winter. Again she was approached by the producers she did not seek them they sought Susan. These are just a few of the triumphs that have a major impact in the field of Intimate Partner Violence! Susan was now in high demand all over the country. But her work was suddenly halted in its prime due to her health.
Susan had a good chance to recover had she had the treatment she needed. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment for this Country which I know you and the President both agree. I am so sorry that the President’s Health plan has been fought against and has not been put into place. This is something that may have saved not only the life of this amazing woman but could have saved countless other people both through Susan’s work and the health plan combined.
This is what Susan said when she made the announcement about her Cancer:
“My dreams and hard work are now becoming reality.
In early fall there will be a national announcement about the Intimate Partner Violence Institute with two major universities.
A national conference and training hosted by the Naperville Christian Church is scheduled for the first week of October on the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit for law enforcement, prosecutors and first responders.
The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit APP will be at the Apple Store on Monday July, 2, 2012.
Holding My Hand Through Hell will be released nationwide October 1, 2012.
Everything will still happen as scheduled”.
Susan Murphy Milano June 27 2012
Please check out these links and Google her name for more on Susan. I know you will love her as much as I do and as the countless women she has saved
Susan’s Cancer blog Conquering Cancer which she started to try to change the way society looks and Cancer treatment
Susan’s Main Blog Susan Murphy Milano’s Journal to educate the public on Intimate Partner Violence
Document the Abuse website for the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit
Susan’s latest book “Holding My Hand Through Hell” is about her life and what it was like for her growing up in an abusive home. She wrote this book for the purpose of helping others who are living the same hell that Susan grew up living in. After reading this book people will know why Susan is the who she is.
Chicago Tribune article and interview with The Rev. Neil Schori.
Listen here to Rev. Schori interview after the trial of Drew Peterson
Susan Murphy Milano and her work in Chicago. Please watch this video and you will see the great work she has done in the past!
Thank you for taking the time to read this and listen to the interviews.
I would like to invite you to the Facebook prayer page for Susan. You will be in awe of the outpouring of prayers and thoughts of people whose lives were changed just by knowing her.
God Bless you and The President for all the work that has been done and is being done to make our lives better.
Amy J. Matthews
Warning signs to watch out for teen dating violence include: sudden loss of interest in activities, low grades, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, loss of regular friends and drastic changes in clothing.
Often victims will wear long sleeves, long pants and scarves to hide bruises and marks. If you as a parent suspect that your teen is in an abusive relationship, encourage zero tolerance for inappropriate dating behaviors.
If you suspect that your teen is being violent to their dating partner, talk to them. Let the teen know that love is about respect. Sometimes it is difficult to realize that your child is being mean or violent. Do not allow aggressive behavior in the home. Talk to the teen about emotional abuse and how it is unacceptable in any relationship. You could say something like, “It bothers me when you yell at so-and-so.” Express concern and talk to the teen about appropriate behavior. You may even want to seek professional help for your teen.
Teen dating violence is a problem that parents can help prevent. Talk to teens about the different types of violence. Be alert for warning signs and let the teens know that you care. Most of all, show teens the appropriate way to behave by being respectful and caring towards other people.
Encouraging teens to have healthy relationships before they begin dating is important. Be aware and keep the lines of communication open with teens about their relationships.
Signs of an abusive relationship
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
To determine whether your teen relationship is abusive, ask her/him to answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that your teen may be in an abusive relationship.
Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings
- feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
- avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
- feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
- believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
- wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
- feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Does your partner:
- humiliate or yell at you?
- criticize you and put you down?
- treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends and family to see?
- ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
- blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
- see you a property or a sex object, rather than a person?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats
Does your partner:
- have a bad and unpredictable temper?
- hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
- threaten to commit suicide if you break up with him/her?
- force you to have sex?
- destroy your belongings?
Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:
- act excessively jealous and possessive?
- control where you go and what you do?
- keeps you from seeing your friends or family?
- constantly checking up on you?
- excessive texting or calling you?
If your teen is afraid for her/his safety or has been assaulted by her/his partner please dial 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-787-3224.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
UNC students are on alert, about an attack on a female student.
Chapel Hill Police say they’re looking for a suspect described as “a college-aged white male.”
The police say they got the report Saturday afternoon, and the victim says she was sexually assaulted in the early morning, off, but near the school grounds.
All the students we talked to had already gotten the message about the possible threat.
Nisha Walton read the warning to us, off her cell phone. She and other U.N.C. students got the warning from the school’s “Alert Carolina” about the sexual assault of a female student.
Walton said, “Most of the alerts that I have gotten have been concerning sexual assault on females. I wouldn’t say it’s something that’s common on campus, it’s usually off campus.”
Police say this most recent one also happened off campus, at a nearby home.
On Sunday, Chapel Hill Police patrolled the downtown area close to the school.
Students say they’ve learned it’s best to travel together to stay safe. Walton said, “I usually do group activities on campus, and not go somewhere when it’s like late at night or early in the morning, cause there was an incident when a girl was running and some guy tried to attack her.”
Male students say they’re worried too. Student Reddy says he also got the email saying a woman had been sexually assaulted.
Reddy said, “I am concerned, yeah campus safety is a problem, but I think the campus does have a lot of safety measures in place. And I think they do a good job for the most part. But incidents like these are problematic.”
The students praise the school for keeping them in the loop, even in cases where crime happens off- campus.
Shelby Rawlins, a UNC student , said, “I definitely think that they have to do, they have to be extra cautious. So I think that’s why they put out the email, but I definitely feel, like I feel safe enough.”
We’ve asked Chapel Hill Police for a copy of the incident report, and will release more information as we get it. Police ask people who know anything about the alleged crime to call Crimestoppers at (919) 942-7515.
Meanwhile, UNC is asking its students to keep watching the “Alert Carolina” website for updates. That website is alertcarolina.unc.edu.
UNC-Chapel Hill sent out the alert Saturday warning of a sexual assault reported near campus.
The alert said Chapel Hill police were investigating a report from a female student that she’d been assaulted in a residence near campus in the early morning hours Saturday.
The suspect was described only as a college age white male.
Chapel Hill police Sunday declined to provide any more details.
The campus alert said UNC police were asking anyone with information to call 911 or contact the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC CrimeStoppers at (919) 942-7515. Information can also be submitted online at http://www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.
A week ago, UNC lost a fellow student, Faith Danielle Hedgepath:
Chapel Hill Police are investigating the death of a UNC student identified as Faith Danielle Hedgepeth, and at this time they are treating the incident as a homicide.
“Police received a call after the victim was discovered in her residence at 5639 Old Chapel Hill Road, which is the Hawthorne on the Hill apartment complex. Friends contacted police after they located the deceased around 11 a.m,” said Lieutenant Kevin Gunter. “At this point police do not believe this was a random act.”
Hedgepeth was a biology major from Warrenton, N.C, and a waitress at the Red Robin in Durham. She died just three weeks away from her 20th birthday.
WCHL’s Ran Northam was on the scene Friday afternoon and spoke to residents of the Hawthorne on the View Apartments. UNC staff member Dustin Bray returned home from work to find his apartment building inaccessible.
“I just got home and I guess there’s something going on here. I can’t get into my apartment right now,” said Bray.
Bray lives in the 1500 building where the incident took place.
He says he didn’t know anyone in the building but is concerned for his safety and if it is a murder, he says he will leave.
“I don’t know if I can do that or not, but I will break my lease if there’s something like that happening here. I’m moving out. I’m not going to deal with that. It’s right next to my apartment. I will leave.”
Christine Shia resides in the 1400 building which is directly across from where the incident occurred. She says she didn’t know the residents of the unit police were investigating but she says maintenance workers were there working on the unit recently.
Shia says she often saw people out and about, but didn’t know anyone by name.
“Everybody is pretty quiet over there- definitely students,” said Shia.
The apartment complex had not released any information to residents as of 4:45 p.m. Friday.
Faith’s homicide records have been sealed.
Chapel Hill police have ruled out a self-inflicted or accidental death in the case of UNC student Faith Danielle Hedgepeth — though they have yet to release new details about the homicide investigation.
On Monday, a Durham County Superior Courtjudge sealed several documents pertaining to the case at the request of Chapel Hill police.
Sgt. Josh Mecimore, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said the judge sealed multiple search warrants and the 911 call alerting police that Hedgepeth’s body had been found.
As of Tuesday, an autopsy had not been completed. But Mecimore said the preliminary autopsy results — which would likely determine a cause of death in the case — are not public under state law.
Mecimore said police requested the documents be sealed to protect the integrity of the investigation.
“There are a lot of details that only someone involved would know, outside of our investigators,” he said.
“It’s useful in interviewing folks to not have the general public know those details,” he said. “It could compromise our investigation.”
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said sealing several entire documents — especially 911 calls — is unusual in most cases. “The law recognizes in very narrow circumstances that it’s OK to seal records,” LoMonte said. “That doesn’t justify a blanket sealing.”
Chapel Hill police have said they don’t believe the slaying was random or that the community faces a threat.
But as of Tuesday night, no arrests or suspects had been announced in the case. A cause of death also has not been released.
Chapel Hill police set up a tip line for people to provide information related to Hedgepeth’s death, and Mecimore said they are investigating leads .
LoMonte said police often benefit from releasing information about investigations.
“When you have an unsolved murder, there’s definitely a duty for either the police to either warn people or reassure people,” LoMonte said.
“You don’t want people to dangle in uncertainty.”
Raleigh attorney Hugh Stevens, of the firm Stevens Martin Vaughn and Tadych, which has represented The Daily Tar Heel in court, said sealing documents in cases like these is not unusual.
“We’ve seen it with some regularity in high profile homicide cases,” Stevens said.
“Generally speaking, the justification is that releasing information impedes investigation into finding the perpetrator.”
Chapel Hill police and Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall also had several documents — including search warrants and an autopsy report — sealed after the murder of Student Body President Eve Carson in 2008.
“Sometimes it’s very much justified depending on the facts, but you don’t know the facts because it’s sealed,” Stevens said.
Via Daily Tarheel
Take care and STAY SAFE!
It is time to get ready for campus life, with September right around the corner. Project Safe Girls wants you to be aware and prepared. Awareness is a good first step toward protecting yourself. Being prepared is the best defense.
Campus crimes occur much more frequently than any of us realize. Crimes on College Campuses and crimes nearby college campuses frequently go unreported and/or under reported. A recent study by The U.S. Department of Justice on The Sexual Victimization of College Women reveals some disturbing statistics. Among the findings:
- Annually 4.9% of college Co-Eds experience a rape. In other words, the victimization rate is 49 rapes per 1000 female students.
- When one considers that the average college career now lasts 5 years, there is a 25% likelihood of a rape between Freshman Orientation and Graduation Day.
- This data becomes more disturbing when analyzed by the number of incidents rather than the number of victims. When the analysis is based on incident count the rate increases by nearly 30%. This takes into account women who have been victimized more than once.
- Crimes categorized as sexual victimization other than rape touched 3.4%, or 34 per 1000, college Co-Eds annually.
- This data also becomes more disturbing when analyzed by the number of incidents rather than the number of victims. Analyzed this way, the rate increases by a whopping 397%.
- 9 out of 10 victims know the person who sexually victimizes them.
- 71% of sexual victimization of college women occurs on a date – known more commonly as date rape.
- 88%of sexual crimes against women occur between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am.
- Sexual victimization of college Co-Eds most often occurs in a residence (on or off campus), with nearly 60% occurring in the victim’s own residence, 30% occurring in other campus living quarters and 10% at a Fraternity.
- Overwhelmingly, data indicates that women who attempt to protect or defend themselves avoid becoming the victim of a completed rape. While protecting or defending oneself is not a 100% guarantee, it is overwhelmingly the best action to take in order to avoid becoming the victim of a completed rape.
- In the instances where women used force or a self-defense product like pepper spray, Mace, a stun gun or a Taser, just under 31% of the attempted rapes resulted in completed rapes.
- Shockingly, fewer than 5% of completed or attempted rapes are actually reported to law enforcement officials. Reasons indicated for not doing so include: Not serious enough to report; not clear a crime was committed; not wanting family or others to know; lack of proof; fear of reprisal by the assailant; fear of hostility by police and fear police would not believe the incident occurred or was serious enough.
- Another frequent and unwanted violation of women on college campuses is stalking. An annual incidence rate 156.5 stalkings per 1000 Co-Eds is reported. Clearly this is a bigger problem and requires further attention, study and consideration.
If you are assaulted or in a dating violence relationship PLEASE REPORT THE INCIDENT to your campus police department AND PRESS CHARGES! ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES! And, I strongly suggest that you go to the local DV or Rape Crisis agency in your college community as well as filing a POLICE REPORT WITH THE TOWN/CITY POLICE DEPARTMENTS! Cover all of your bases. Do not leave any rock unturned.
Too many assailants, universities and colleges are getting away with sweeping college crimes under the carpet. DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU! Remember, YOU DID NOT DESERVE IT! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
Parents – get involved in your daughter’s safety during college. Parents or Gals……contact me for details as we are gearing up our tour to bring personal safety training (6 hours on one weekend day) to communities everywhere! Organizers of training’s will train for FREE!
Take care and STAY SAFE!
NC Stop Human Trafficking is a statewide organization whose mission is to eradicate modern day slavery in all its forms. NC Stop Human Trafficking works to fight human trafficking on multiple levels following the P.A.V.E. model: Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services and Education/awareness. NC Stop works through connecting and supporting individuals, community-based and faith-based organizations, non-governmental and governmental organizations. We focus on collaboration and communication between all groups to be efficient and effective. NC Stop strives to create opportunities for community members to become involved in the fight to stop human trafficking that are fulfilling and appropriate for each member.
We have active member groups in Wilmington, Greenville, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Burlington, Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville. We also have members who are students at NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, UNC- Greensboro, and UNC-Charlotte. Email email@example.com if you live near these areas and would like to meet with groups in your area and learn how to be involved.
Perceived factors leading to human trafficking:
- Non-identification of trafficking situations by law enforcement and community members
- Lack of awareness and education in the general public and direct service providers
- Vulnerability to exploitation due to isolation, abuse/neglect, low self esteem, poverty
- Victims have little to no knowledge of, or access to, alternatives and resources available
- Normalization of degradation and violence against women and children
- Normalization of exploitation and devaluation of human life
- Little deterrence on the demand side – lack of adequate consequences for offenders
- Lack of follow up programs, effective counseling and alternative placement for victims
- Broken foster care and social work system – runaway/throwaway and homeless youth are the highest risk group
- Lack of collaboration and communication between government, NGO, faith- and community-based groups
NC Stop Human Trafficking’s core areas of focus of Prevention, Advocacy, Victim Services, and Education/Awareness (P.A.V.E. model) are designed to address these problems. We seek to work through existing organizations first through providing training on issues and program development, then plan to fill in gaps as needed. In this way we choose to collaborate and effect communication across all borders for the common purpose of ending human trafficking.
Protect and educate the vulnerable to reduce risk of exploitation
Work to reduce and eliminate contributing factors of isolation, abuse/neglect, low self-esteem and poverty through mentorships, capacity building, life-skills education, parenting training, etc.
Ensure access to resources and options in life.
Work to expose and reduce normalization of degradation, violence, exploitation and devaluation.
Education/Awareness focus will also help with prevention – education to at-risk population
Educate young people on what a healthy relationship looks like, how to spot exploitation, who to turn to for help, technology and bullying – how to cope, education for boys as well as girls
Address foster care/social work system
Advocate for tougher penalties for traffickers and end users – Washington state law – cars impounded/ $5000 fine, john school
Support legislation that funds programs for victims – shelter, education, food, therapy, etc
Raise awareness that there is no such thing as a child prostitute – anyone under 18 is a victim – consent is off the table
Advocate for reduced penalties (or none – based on Sweden model) for prostitutes and FUNDED alternative programs in exchange for lesser sentences
Change prostitution laws in NC
Prostitution charges acquired before age 18 can be struck off record – NY state law
Victim Services -
Shelter – security
Legal Services – including immigration processing if needed
Alternative life choices – training and support needed
Long term support system and reintegration into society – love and support – effective follow up and follow through
Civic organizations and associations with a service mission
NGO/Non profits with a service mission – esp focusing on women and children’s health, safety, welfare, etc
Faith based organizations and churches
Anyone in contact with at risk youth – social workers, guidance counselors, school nurses, teachers existing mentorship programs such as Boys and Girls Club etc, Planned Parenthood, foster parents, adoption/fostering networks, malls, movie theaters, social media, etc -
- Want to find out how you can be a part of North Carolina’s abolitionist movement? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us where you’re from, and we’ll see how we can get you hooked in!
- Know something that you think should be shared on this blog? Email us!
RALEIGH – U.S. National Committee for UN Women – 2011 National Conference
When: Saturday, June 11, 2011
Time: 9:00am – 5:30pm / Reception Afterward
Location:Witherspoon Student Center, North Carolina State University, 2810 Cates Ave, Raleigh, NC
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Johanna Orozco, of Cleveland, a victim of teenage violence, spoke to a crowd of local counselors, teachers and teens at the YWCA on North Park Avenue in Warren. Orozco’s ex-boyfriend shot her in the face in 2007.
A state law signed last year by then-Gov. Ted Strickland and sponsored by former state Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles mandated that public schools begin to teach students in grades seven-12 about teen-dating violence starting this school year.
Implementation of the law, known as The Tina Croucher Act, hasn’t gone perfectly, said Cheryl Tarantino, executive director of the Warren domestic-violence shelter Someplace Safe.
Because the Legislature didn’t provide any funding to carry it out and because the law didn’t specify what kind of education is required, some schools are doing almost nothing, Tarantino said.
On Thursday, Someplace Safe and the 13 other Northeast Ohio organizations concerned about dating violence brought three of Ohio’s best-known teen-violence experts to the YWCA on North Park Avenue to train local counselors, teachers and teens on the subject.
Johanna Orozco of Cleveland may be the best living example of the consequences of teen-dating violence.
When Orozco, 22, first stepped to the microphone, it was apparent why people listen to her.
Not only is her face disfigured from a shotgun blast she suffered in 2007 when her ex-boyfriend shot her at close range, but she speaks in a dynamic way and relates to teens.
Orozco’s story, which has been told numerous times on national television and in a seven-day series in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was that she was the victim of a tall, dark, handsome, intelligent and violent teen named Juan Ruiz Jr., Orozco’s boyfriend of two years.
Orozco had known Ruiz since the second grade. They started dating in early 2005, when Orozco was a sophomore in high school. Ruiz shot Orozco in March 2007.
The court sentenced Ruiz to 27 years in prison in September 2007 after he pleaded guilty to raping and attempting to kill Orozco. Ruiz was 17 at the time.
But during her talk Thursday, Orozco pointed out that her relationship with Ruiz was anything but violent in the beginning.
Four to five months into the relationship, Ruiz became jealous and started to tell Orozco what she could wear and who she could talk to. He accused her of cheating and began to call her every three to five minutes on the phone.
Her friends and family noticed that she had changed — becoming isolated from them. She lied about the reasons why.
A year into the relationship, Ruiz hit her for the first time, so she broke up with him, only to change her mind a short time later.
The relationship got worse over the following year — slapping, squeezing and hitting her in places where others wouldn’t notice. She continued to lie to friends and family about the source of the injuries because “I loved him. I cared about him,” she said. Eventually, she also feared him.
About a month before Ruiz shot her, she left him, but Ruiz found her and raped her at knifepoint, which she reported to someone at school, which led to juvenile charges being filed against Ruiz.
Ruiz was let out of juvenile custody on house arrest and stalked Orozco for two weeks before shooting her as she sat in her car.
The blast removed half of her lower face. Bone from her leg was used to rebuild her jaw.
The other speakers were Elsa and Jim Croucher of Monroe, near Cincinnati, the parents of Tina Croucher, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1992.
Elsa Croucher said her daughter’s boyfriend was a good-looking football player who regularly hit her daughter, leaving bruises.
Tina Croucher lied about how she got the bruises, but eventually her family found out, and Tina stopped seeing him.
“Then he really caused problems,” Elsa said, describing “horrible messages” that he left on voice mails, and times he went to the family’s church and to Elsa’s workplace.
“Four days before Christmas, he shot her in the head and killed himself in her room,” Elsa said.
The Crouchers were instrumental in getting the Legislature to pass The Tina Croucher Act.
Published: Fri, February 25, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.
By: Ed Runyan
Photo by: Robert K Yosay
Take care and STAY SAFE!
One way to decrease the chances of teens being in an abusive relationship is to encourage kids to love themselves. Show teens respect. Let them know that it is important for other people to respect them as well. If siblings are disrespecting one another, bring attention to the behavior and try to stop it. Encouraging teens to respect family members, friends and others will help them to demand respect in their dating and personal relationships.
As hard as we try to talk to our teens, they will not always feel comfortable telling us when something is wrong. Look up local hotline numbers for teens. Make a list and give it to your child. Also, have a list taped to the refrigerator and the back of the teen’s bathroom door. Let the teen know that the numbers are available if they ever need them. This way, the hotline numbers will be accessible to your teen should they become involved in an abusive relationship. The teen hotline numbers can be a valuable tool in helping teens in a time of crisis.
Victims of teen dating violence often feel as though they deserve the abuse or that they will not be able to find anyone else if they break up with their abusive partner. They may have low self esteem or fail to recognize emotional abuse and think that it is perfectly normal. Remind your teen that they deserve respect in their relationships. It is important to emphasize to teens that they will have several relationships where they think they are in love and have found a special person. Explain to your teen that they are young and that they will have many opportunities to date.
Safety issues are a main concern. Aggression and anger can lead to serious intentional or accidental injuries. If the teen has unexplained bruises or marks, talk to them about what you suspect is going on in their relationship. You do not have to confront them with questions. Just talk to them about healthy dating relationships. This lets the teen know that you are available and concerned without putting the teen on the defensive. If the teen feels that they have to defend their relationship, they are less likely to break up with the violent partner.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
One major trend we have seen is the obsessiveness that young couples can have. Here are some ideas to be aware of:
1) Low self-esteem causes different behavior
If teenagers, or anyone has low self-esteem it can cause them to be more desperate for connection or control. Teenagers, developmentally tend to have lower self-esteem as their bodies change. Low self-esteem can also cause couples to be more jealous and needy of each other, which can be a precursor to abuse.
2) Control can be addictive
I talk to teenagers all day long about what they are anxious about. Many of them feel very out of control and this scares them. Teens tend to rarely be in control; rather they are usually being controlled. They are controlled by parents, teachers, principles, counselors, coaches, colleges and bosses. What they can control is another teenager and this can over extension of control can be a form of abuse.
3) Control and monitoring is now easier
It is actually easy to smother someone without even realizing it. We can text, MySpace message, Facebook stalk, call, IM, BBIM, email or ping. I have often written about teens need to constantly be connected and abuse often stems from people needing to be connected to another more frequently. Smothering, which might not be abusive, but is abnormal nonetheless, is so much easier in a digital age.
4) Obsessiveness can go unnoticed
Because everyone is connected all the time, teens might not even realize how obsessed or compulsive they are with the other person. This allows the behavior to continue far longer and at a much higher rate than ever before.
5) Inequality breeds discomfort
This concept is nothing new. I have heard young couples talk about inequality in relationships. The idea of “who has the power” is something that teens today are much more aware of. It is the reason men wait 3 days to call a girl back (need to be the one with the power) and no one wants to say “I love you” first. This kind of thinking, can lead to abuse or unhealthy relationships.
6) Abuse does not only have to be physical
Abuse can be emotional, verbal, psychological or physical. This is an important idea to explain to new couples. Often times, someone in the relationship (see inequality above) feels uncomfortable, but is afraid to say anything because they think it is normal or would not qualify as abuse.
7) Lack of connection means they need more to connect on
The cotton candy friend epidemic is a huge issue because teens are not feeling as connected or intimate with their friends because all of their interaction is so superficial. This can make young people, who are starving for closeness, crave a smothering or obsessive relationship more than previous generations.
Take care and STAY SAFE!