Originally created 08/31/99

Adviceline: Love can't overcome abusive relationship



"My boyfriend beats me, but I love him so much. He just gets angry sometimes. What should I do?" -- 18-year-old girl, Augusta

YOUR ADVICE

I think you should let him go because if he really loves you he wouldn't hit you in the first place.

In this case you have mistaken hate for love. You should tell someone in authority. This could be traumatizing, so you should get counseling.

I don't want to sound harsh, but what are you thinking? You obviously need to leave him or strongly express your feelings. If my boyfriend even tried to beat me, for me there wouldn't be room for discussion. He'd be gone in an instant. Your body comes first, even if it is a question between love and abuse. Think about it, girl.

Trust me. You don't really love him. You just think that you need him. Leave him and call the police if he tries to come after you before something more serious happens.

I was in this same situation. I used to be aggressive with my girlfriend and what she did -- it totally changed me around. She broke it off with me for a while, and it made me realize what I did and I started missing her.

Break up with him! As time goes by he'll get more controlling and abusive. You'll suffer more emotionally and physically -- that is a poor quality life. You deserve a lot better. You're also taking the chance of him seriously injuring you or worse. Don't live your life in constant fear and dread. Love? Love is expressed by hugging, not hitting.

Xtreme reporter Margaret Weston's response: Domestic violence is a serious issue that deserves immediate attention.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Battering happens when one person feels entitled to control another. Assault, battering and domestic violence are crimes.

Vanessa Wingfield, assistant director of SAFE Homes, said common signs of abusive relationships include controlling behavior, isolation, possessiveness or jealousy. If physical or sexual abuse, especially rape, is an issue, you need medical assistance.

Since you are 18, you can contact organizations such as SAFE Homes, which provides counseling, support groups and legal advocacy.

If you're younger than 18 and in an abusive relationship, you need to go to your parents. This may be difficult, but the end result is more abuse, or worse. Be prepared to press charges if necessary.

You may want to look for help at school or church, either in a trusted teacher, a counselor or the pastor.

Here are a number of resources in the Augusta area for women who suffer mental and physical abuse:

SAFE Homes of Augusta, 736-2499

Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services Hotline, 724-5200

Community Mental Health Center of East Central Georgia Crisis Line, 771-4837

Behavioral Health Link Crisis Line, 826-1802

NEXT WEEK'S PROBLEM

I just came to a new school this year. Back at my old school I never had any boyfriends -- I think because I knew everybody for so long. Do you think at my new school I'll have guys like me? My friends say I'm pretty and popular. -- 14-year-old, Augusta

Call the Advice Line at 442-4444 and press 8614. You'll have one minute to answer. Got a problem? Call 442-4444 and press 8613. You'll have one minute to give us your situation. Please state your age and the town you live in.