Oprah show highlights abuse

CHAPEL HILL But it's not just a problem for the stars. North Carolina college students say it's an all too familiar story. Campus leaders say girls are often the victims of physical abuse as early as middle school, and by the time they get to college it's happened several times before.

"We do see a lot of it here on UNC's campus," offered Assistant Dean Melinda Manning.

It's not just a problem at UNC. Colleges across the country report abuse by boyfriends.

"It's an awful situation to be in whether it's emotional abuse or physical abuse," said student Sarah Ball.

Many victims don't know what to do or how to get help.

"You can't say what you're going to do when you're in that situation, but the best thing to do is always walk away," said student Brian Murphy.

"You get out of the relationship because it's not going to get any better," explained student Caitlin Schier.

But Manning says it's often not that easy for victims.

"On average, it takes a woman six to seven attempts to break out of an abusive relationship," she said.

That final attempt can sometimes be the last. Nearly a year ago, Skye Lee - a Durham high school student - was gunned down in front of her toddler. The suspect was her longtime boyfriend Cory Jiggets. Investigators called it a violent relationship with a tragic end.

Signs of trouble can start as early.

For a long time, we didn't think it was a problem particularly among our undergrad students because they're typically not living together. But we found you don't have to be married or live together to be engaged in both physical and emotional abuse of each other," Manning explained.

Parents should be on the lookout for obsessive behavior before it's too late.

"Too many phone calls, too many text messages," Manning said. "You need to be able to ask your son or daughter what's going on in this relationship."

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