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Something she said—to this day she doesn’t know what—enraged him.“He snapped,” Sarah says, still wincing at the memory.If a friend called, he’d be like, ‘Why do you want to go out with them?'” When she did find time for pals, there was hell to pay: “My phone would ring and my friends would say, ‘Why don’t you ignore it?“He lifted his leg up and kicked me in the stomach.I flew across the room, hit my head on the wall and was knocked unconscious.” No one called an ambulance. Her legs were moving up and down and her chest was shaking.They were at a party, and Joe (not his real name), the cute football player she’d been dating, had kicked her, hard, propelling her into a wall, where she had hit her head and blacked out.

“I was seeing Sarah less and less,” recalls Jeremy Carlson, 18.

“It became kind of a joke—that she was too busy with school and crew.” Sarah kept her doubts to herself. “I think it has to do with being in one of the first relationships of your life. It made me feel loved.” But her parents, Kate and Mark, a computer software salesman, were worried.

You don’t really know where to draw the line.” And then there was Joe himself, who followed up his outbursts with fervent apologies and tokens of love, usually bouquets of roses. Sarah, who had maintained a B average, started getting C’s and D’s, and her friends weren’t coming by anymore.

That night, Joe called to apologize; Sarah told him it was over.

“I was scared,” she says, and her parents forbade her from seeing him again. “I tried to ignore him,” Sarah says, “but there he was on the phone and the Internet. “He was everything.” She began seeing him on the sly, once even crawling out of her bedroom window.

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