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Beware of false men, who come dressed in sheep’s clothing

feel like I often write serious columns when some of you may be looking for humor, but this one is especially near and dear to my heart. White Ribbon Day was November 25, and the day represents an oath swearing to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

I promise this is not some rant or hate campaign against men, but a story about a friend I didn’t stand up for enough.

My freshman year of college I made a best friend from Snellville, Georgia. We came to school both single, and were hoping to find the man of our dreams, getting the “ring by spring” of our senior year.

It was our second semester of school, when she seemed to have met whom she had been waiting for.

Our other friends gathered around waiting to hear about this guy, when she asked a sort of strange question. She said he had been arrested for assaulting his dad, after his dad became violent against his mother. It was shocking, but honorable he stood up for his mom. The question then became do I date this guy even with his past or walk away. We all agreed he deserved a chance. I look back on the day, often and wish I had said, “walk away.”

It’s a day I’ll never forgive myself for.

She started going home to see him and hanging out with us less, but she was in love; we couldn’t be mad.

That summer, I had planned to go to the Katy Perry concert with her and spend the night. It’s a weekend I’ll never forget, because that’s when I realized this guy was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as they say.

Before we went to the concert, he called her multiple ugly names because of her outfit, and said she was a liar and he knew she would be dancing with guys at the concert, and he wanted pictures to prove she was behaving. I thought this behavior was bizarre, but she swore she had never seen this side of him. She called him on the way home from the concert, and that’s when he blew up. He was furious I was spending the night. He knew I would try to trick her into breaking up with him, and if she was picking me over him then they were over.

I didn’t understand it. I had never witnessed something like this, and I thought this wasn’t love or even what a relationship was supposed to be about.

The next day she assured me, he was really nice and this was a misunderstanding. She was going over to talk to him. I heard him specifically say, don’t come over I’m really mad at you. I warned her not to and that I was scared for her safety.

I left to return home, and later that day I found out she broke her wrist. She said she tripped running from a spider.

She had been a gymnast all her life, her balance was impeccable, and I know she didn’t. Plus, her house was all carpet. It was a lie and she was defending someone who physically hurt her.

I reached out to our mutual friend, who was going on a beach trip with her to tell her of the situation. When she got back from the trip, she told me she was really worried. The boyfriend made her take a picture every hour to prove she was where she said was, and wasn’t with any guys.

We were scared for her, and visited the women’s resource counseling center at school. That’s when her boyfriend became even more concerned and said she had to cut off all contact with us. If we wanted to text her, he would have to approve it and then monitor a response. It was devastating. He convinced her to drop out of our sorority and then she transferred to be closer to him at home.

I miss her so much. I want to tell her stuff every single day. He convinced her to avoid her family, so I often talk to her mom and we pray for the best.

I can’t forgive myself for not doing more and not noticing the signs earlier, but I ask that you recognize this, and you think about domestic violence on more than just White Ribbon Day. It happens when you don’t’ see it coming.