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UVA Women's Center Speaks Out On Violence - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Women's Center Speaks Out On Violence

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The murder of Yeardley Love at the University of Virginia prompts so many questions. We are now learning what is being said on grounds about the case by the people who deal with domestic violence issues every day.

Workers at the UVA Women's Center say it is likely that Love never reached out for help; a theme that is, unfortunately, all too common in cases of violence against women.

Claire Kaplan works at UVA's Women's Center, dealing with cases of sexual and domestic violence. She recalls first hearing the news of Love's death on Monday.

"I was appalled," Kaplan said. "And thinking immediately of that young woman who lost her life, and her family, how must they be feeling?"

Kaplan says violence against women is a growing problem in the United States, especially because many women do not speak out about their attackers. 

The U.S. Justice Department says women between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most vulnerable to partner violence, at nearly three times the national average for any other age group. It also says that 22 percent of the girls killed in a six year test period were murdered by an intimate partner.

Another study says that 67 percent of teens who were in an abusive relationship never told anyone about it.

"Maybe her friends knew, or had a glimmer, but didn't know what to do," she said. "Because most people don't know what to do."

Many women at UVA, and in the Charlottesville community, have taken advantage of the different services the Women's Center has to offer.

"We have all sorts of counseling services and sexual and domestic violence services," explained Melissa Levy, assistant director of the center's Young Women Leaders Program.

Kaplan says there are a number of red flags that should alert women to an abusive relationship, but all too often, women make excuses for the perpetrator instead of getting help.

"I think people are just really hesitant," said Kaplan. "There's a lot of self-blame and shame that comes with this."

Kaplan hopes Love's death will serve as a somber wake-up call, prompting women to seek help before it is too late.

The UVA Women's Center offers its services to both students and women living in the Charlottesville community. For more information about the center, click here.

Reported by Kasey Hott
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