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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.
“This is a major adolescent health issue,” says Jay Silverman, associate professor of society, human development and health, who directed the Harvard study.
“They would say things like, ‘I know you are at practice right now, but I just wanted to be the first one to say hi,'” Sarah says.
“You could tell she had been crying,” recalls the friend, Brian Knott.
“I came and asked [Joe] to leave; then I gave her a ride home.” Even then Joe followed Sarah out, begging for forgiveness, but she ignored him.
A partygoer later recounted the incident to police in a statement: “He kicked her as hard as he could with his right leg/foot. He [witness] said she did this for close to three hours.” When Sarah regained consciousness, Joe was standing nearby, still drinking.
Getting to her feet, she made her way to a bathroom, locked herself in and called a male crew team member.
“As a parent you don’t know what to do,” says Kate, a workspace designer.