We cannot do this alone
Community Response Needed to Stop Domestic Violence Homicides
We cannot do this alone.
In the past six months in our region, there have been seven incidences of domestic violence resulting in 13 fatalities. Eight of those killed were children.
This ever increasing statistic included the three children killed by their father. Their mother witnessed their murders.
These deaths come only three days after the murder of a woman, by a person police define as a companion, on September 11 at an area motel.
Earlier this month on September 1, a woman and her daughter were murdered in their home by her boyfriend when she ended the relationship and demanded he leave.
On the same day, another woman and her two children were attacked with a hammer by her ex-boyfriend. Her son later died from the injuries.
On May 17, a mother of twin sons was found shot to death in her garage. The assailant was her ex-boyfriend who had stalked and terrorized her after she ended the relationship. He was due to be sentenced the next day. She was murdered with a gun he had stolen from her.
On March 27, a young mother was shot to death in front of her son by her abusive boyfriend.
On March 23, a mother, her two children and her niece were brutally murdered in their South Land Park home. The couple were separated and the woman was pursuing divorce.
With every murder of a woman or child at the hands of an abuser, we hear similar questions emerge with frightening predictability.
“What should she have done differently?”
“If she knew he was violent, why didn’t she leave?”
“What can women in violent relationships due to avoid situations like this?”
As a community, we will not stop – or even slow – domestic violence homicides by asking questions of dead women and children. The reality is that many of them had taken steps. They planned for their safety. They sought restraining orders. They moved repeatedly. They did everything they could to protect themselves and their children.
As a community, we must not tolerate domestic violence. We must recognize that early violent actions should be taken seriously by law enforcement and the courts. We must take action to keep guns out of the hands of abusers. Ultimately, we must find a better community response to preventing this violence by addressing the root causes of violence in our homes and streets, by helping the people who do harm before they become violent and things escalate, and by teaching our children about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
It’s challenging and complicated work. There are no easy solutions. But I believe we are up to it. At WEAVE, we will continue to do our part in leading our community in this effort. And we will be here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as we have been for the past 39 years. We will support victims of domestic violence with safety planning, safe and confidential shelter, legal assistance, and counseling.
We cannot do this alone.
If you are worried about a friend, co-worker, or family member who may be experiencing domestic violence, encourage them to seek help. More information can be found at www.weaveinc.org. Our 24/7 Support Line Advocates can also provide support and information – 916.920.2952.
If you are compelled to help, we need you. Volunteer. Educate yourself, your co-workers, and your friends. Donate gently used clothing. Help fund 24/7 services.