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Morgan’s story: “I knew that it was not acceptable for a victim of abuse on campus to be told, ‘There’s nothing we can do.’”

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After being abused by her boyfriend, Morgan Berschauer reached out to her high school when his ongoing harassment after their break-up continued to affect her school life. The school told her there was nothing they could do. Since then she’s been organizing other students and volunteering with Laura’s House. Morgan was crowned Miss Laguna Hills Teen 2012 by the City of Laguna Hills for work to spread education about dating abuse. Herschool is beginning to recognize the problem of dating abuse, and they’ve invited Laura’s House to give workshops to students. But this is just a start.

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In 2010, I was in an abusive relationship, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that the crude name-calling and hitting was wrong. But luckily my mom knew the signs and asked me. And my aunt referred me to Laura’s House, a Ladera Ranch organization working to end domestic violence. I reached out and got support.

I was able to end the relationship. But the trouble continued after the break-up. My ex-boyfriend tried to make my friends choose sides. He grabbed me by the arm and in sexual ways at school, despite my protest. 

All of this was really affecting my ability to feel safe and focus at school. I reached out to my principal, who referred me to the campus police. They told me there was nothing they could do.

Luckily, I had family support and knew where to turn and what to do. I knew that it was not acceptable for a victim of abuse on campus to be told, “There’s nothing we can do.” I didn’t give up. I started a H.E.A.R.T. club at my school and began to reach out to other students. I began volunteering with Laura’s House. I continued to advocate at my school. 

Now my school is beginning to recognize the problem of dating abuse, and they’ve invited Laura’s House to give workshops to students. This is just a start.

All schools need dating abuse policies and procedures to respond to incidents of dating abuse on campus. These policies will help to ensure that in the future, when someone reaches out for help, staff will know what to do, and no one will be turned away.

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