Today, George Huguely V was found guilty of second-degree murder for killing his former girlfriend Yeardly Love in 2010. Victim advocates believe that this verdict will support other sexual assault and domestic violence survivors in coming forward and reporting the crimes perpetrated against them.
“Anytime offenders are clearly and seriously held accountable, that sends a very strong message to the community and to victims that these are crimes our nation takes seriously,” said Terri Poore, policy chair of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, a Washington advocacy group. “It will have a chilling effect on offenders and we think more victims will come forward.” Quoted in Business Week.
This case also brought the importance of bystander intervention to light. After Love’s death, peers and teammates stated that they had known that Huguely had problems with alcohol and violence but they never told a coach, a teacher, or a counselor to intervene. They didn’t him that they were concerned about his behavior or tell her that they were worried for her safety. There is a lot that we can do as bystanders, and we encourage everyone to learn more about curricula and programs that are available to support healthy and safe bystander behavior.
To learn more about the impact of this verdict and the case, you can visit Business Week’s article “UVA Murder Verdict Will Embolden Crime Victims to Come Forward”, The New York Times article “Former u.Va. Lacrosse Player Faces 26 years”, or the Huffington Post’s coverage and timeline.