Breakups could be cause of violence after relationships end

Some relationships aren’t meant to last, but sometimes the breakups can lead to dangerous situations.

It’s what people almost never think could happen.

“It can if there has been violence in the relationship prior to the breakup,” said Anne Kappauf, executive director of New Horizon’s Shelter and Outreach Center.

Kappauf said violence after a relationship ends could be caused by the breakup itself.


“If you’re in an abusive situation, the most dangerous time for you, typically, is when you break up, when you want to leave that abusive situation, because then the perpetrator knows they won’t have power and control over you anymore,” said Kappauf.

In the last few months, the La Crosse area has seen a couple of instances of violence after breakups.

Thomas Beitlich of Madison now faces charges of breaking into a home and severely beating his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend earlier this month.

Jesse Klukas and Dana Shefelbine were found dead in an apartment on French Island in August.

Before committing suicide Klukas allegedly took to Facebook admitting he killed Shefelbine after she tried to breakup with him.

While it’s unclear if any of these relationships were abusive, Assistant Professor of Communications at UW-La Crosse Pamela Morris said social media could be a factor.

“I think it does put pressure on young people that if they breakup — that it is going to become a public thing,” said Morris. “They’re no longer able to breakup and sort of grieve in private. People online want to know what’s going on. One small change can bring all these people into your life, wanting to know how you’re feeling and what’s going on. It’s a very different way in breaking up than it used to be.”

Kappauf suggests to have a safety plan if you are thinking about leaving a relationship and are scared of violence that may come of it.

People can also call the shelter’s crisis line for help at 608-791-2600.

The show “48 Hours Mystery” is also looking into the issue of violence after breakups in its latest episode called “Loved to Death.”

It airs tomorrow night on News 8 at 9 p.m.