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How to handle dangerous relationships

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: How to handle dangerous relationships
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Identifying abusive or dangerous relationships goes beyond bruises. There's an emotional aspect as well. Jenni-Lyn Watson's murder sent shock waves throughout the region. We don't know if there was a history of violence between her and the man accused of her murder, but as our Iris St. Meran explains, authorities say she had tried to end their relationship.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Jenni-Lyn Watson and Steven Pieper dated on and off for more than a year. Shortly before Watson's murder, the DA's office says she wanted out for good.

"Our indication is that Miss Watson desired this relationship to end in early October and, as is often the case in these types of tragedies, apparently that message didn't get through to Mr. Pieper," said District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

Pieper was arrested and charged with murder after the Liverpool woman's body was found near Clay Central Park on Saturday. It's unclear if there was a history of violence, but staff at the Vera House says abuse takes many forms.

Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman said, "Extreme jealously, somebody always questioning where you are, what you're doing, who you're with. If you have a healthy relationship, you're not going to have that kind of jealous present. Sometimes people confuse that for love and care, but it's not."

Bregman said Watson did everything right by telling others about the troubled relationship and taking steps to end it. But as in many of these tragedies sometimes that isn't enough.

"The people committing the offenses, the people hurting and killing, we need to help create a standard that doesn't allow that to continue because it's true, we can't guarantee anybody's safety, online the person who's willing to commit the violent act can make the choice that people are safe," said Bregman.

The Vera House can provide a safe environment for anyone in need through programming, advocacy and counseling and a number of other resources. Bregman says having some type of support network through the organization or loved ones is key.

If you or anyone you know needs help, The Vera House has a 24 hour crisis line. That number is (315) 468-3260.

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