Book Excerpt: 'But I Love Him'

• He is aggressive in other areas of his life: he puts his fist through walls or closets, bangs his fist to make a point, or throws things when angry.

• He frequently roughhouses or play-wrestles with her.

• She makes excuses for his poor behavior or says it's her fault.

• They talk on the phone several times a day or for long periods.

• He has a "tragic" home life: he is or was physically abused or verbally demeaned, and/or one or both parents are alcoholics or use drugs.

• He drinks or uses drugs.

• He frequently gives her "advice" about her choice of friends, hairstyle, clothes, or makeup.

• He calls her demeaning names, then laughs and tells her he was only kidding or that she's too sensitive.

• She has become secretive since she started dating him. She is miserable whenever she is apart from him.

• She has recently become very critical of her appearance, talents, or abilities.

• She frequently has to explain herself to her boyfriend or often says she's sorry.

• She has bruises she cannot explain or appears nervous about explaining to me.

In the next three chapters we'll discuss each level of violence in detail so that you will clearly understand the problem your daughter is facing and the ways in which you can help her now. First, however, consider these statistics on teen dating violence:

• Thirty-six percent of female high school and college students surveyed--more than one in three--said that they had experienced some violence in a dating relationship.

• As many as 50 percent of dating women suffer physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from their dating partners.

• The majority of violence (as much as 86 percent) occurs during the "steady"/serious phase of a relationship.

• Twenty-five percent of female homicide victims are between fifteen and twenty-four years old.

• One in three women who are killed in the United States are murdered by their boyfriend or husband.

• Results of recent interviews with approximately fourteen hundred students in rural North Dakota indicate that students from abusive households were twenty-five times more prone to dating violence than those from homes without abuse.

• Ninety percent of men in prison come from abusive homes.

These are horrifying facts. The bad news is that unless your daughter wants to get out of her relationship, there is little you can do to convince her that's what's best for her. The good news is that throughout this book we will examine the history of her problem--that is, what led her to an abusive relationship--and the ways in which you can go about extricating your daughter from this nightmare.

The foregoing is excerpted from "But I Love Him" by Jill Murray. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.

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