Dr. Wallace:

I’ve been dating a guy at my school for nearly four months. He’s very cute, very popular and he’s also a very good athlete. I’m on the cheerleading squad and participate in athletics. I’m also vice president of the student body so I’m also popular with my classmates. I have really enjoyed dating this guy up until last week.

We both went to a birthday party at a friend’s house, but unfortunately, alcohol was available and he had too much to drink. I tried to get him to stop drinking, but he wouldn’t listen to me. This was very upsetting to me and I told him that if he didn’t stop drinking beer immediately, I would just call my parents to come and take me home.

This really set him off and he called me a filthy name, slapped my face and kicked me on my rear. I was totally shocked and started crying, and he told me he was sorry and that he would never physically abuse me again. We left the party and he drove me home; I was scared to death because I think he was totally intoxicated.

He wouldn’t let me get out of the car until I told him that I loved him and forgave him for hurting me, but I didn’t say anything. He finally let me go when my mom came out to see why I didn’t come into the house.

I didn’t tell my parents what happened because they would have made me stop seeing this guy, and I’m not sure I want to. Please tell me what you think I should do.

— Nameless,

Jackson, Tenn.

Nameless: Physical violence never deserves a second chance. Believe me, with evil-tempered guys, there always is a next time. Your only recourse is to dump this guy immediately. If you don’t believe me, perhaps the following letter will convince you:

Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m writing this letter to all the young women out there who have been physically abused by their boyfriends, but stay with them because they think they won’t do it again.

I started dating Robert when we were in high school. He was the star athlete and I was homecoming queen. Everybody thought we were the perfect couple. What they didn’t know was that he would sometimes punch me on my arms and back and threaten to kill me. Then for a couple of weeks afterwards, he’d be an angel.

I didn’t break up with him because I thought I loved him and kept convincing myself the last time he hit me would really be the last time, period. To make a long story short, I married this guy because he said he loved me and I thought marriage would change him. Boy, was I wrong! The physical abuse continued. In fact, it increased.

Two children and a countless number of beatings later, I got up enough courage to leave him. I have filed for divorce and have a restraining order to keep him away from me and the children. I am now living with my parents who have accepted me home again with open arms. I really feel safe here because my father is a police officer.

All I’m telling you, girls, is that if your boyfriend abuses you physically, even one time, get rid of the jerk. He’ll tell you it won’t happen again, but it will.

— Anne, Houston, Tex.

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