Lacrosse Player's Death Raises Issue of Dating Violence

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

The president of the University of Virginia says the school had not been informed of the 2008 arrest of a men's lacrosse player now accused in the death of member of the women's team.

UVA President John Casteen says the school is deeply affected by the death of Yeardley Love. George Huguely, a student who once dated Love, is charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Huguely was arrested by police in Lexington in November 2008 after resisting arrest on public intoxication.

Police say they used a stun gun to restrain him.

New information is also coming out about the nature of Huguely and Love's relationship in the months leading up to the alleged murder.

Love had broken up with Huguely before the alleged murder. However, according to "The Washington Post," this may not have been the first violent incident between the two.

The case is raising the issue of dating violence on college campuses.

Kelly Johnson is a James Madison University senior who heads up a group called C.A.R.E. that helps students who are victims of violence in a relationship or sexual assaults to know what resources are available for them.

"It can escalate so rapidly, and I feel like a lot of people in denial about the situation that they're in," says Johnson.

Heather Driver, the assistant director of student wellness and outreach, says many students simply never report these kinds of crimes, either to police or to a counselor.

"A lot of that problem on a college campus is that people are our friends. And so, they're afraid that they're going to go and they're going report this and other people are going to find out about it. And, they don't want that to happen," says Driver.

Students have access to 24-hour hot lines. A phone number is even on the back of their student identification cards.

Counselors and organizations in the city also help to students.

Still, Johnson comments, "The funding is very limited for our organizations. And, if we had more of that we could make a bigger impact on the campus."

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, dating violence is one of the most under-reported crimes.

"With what happened at UVA, and with what clearly happens on this campus everyday and is not brought light to, if we don't do something about it, then it's just going to get worse," says Johnson.

Driver says it unfortunately takes a tragedy to get some victims of these crimes to come forward.

She says the university is also taking advantage of grant programs to raise awareness on campus.


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