Domestic violence: Time to say ‘no’ : Editorial

The image is shocking, sickening.

A 71-year-old Bellevue man walked into a Bellevue Police station March 27 and said he had killed his sleeping wife – with a hatchet.

But while most of us would gasp, those who deal with domestic violence know too well the reality of such situations. All forms of violence are too common here and elsewhere – even including murder.

In the Bellevue case, court documents say the husband had assaulted his wife in the past and once was arrested for it. She had petitioned the court for a restraining order, saying she feared for her life.

Barbara Langdon, Executive Director of Eastside Domestic Violence Program, says that murders between partners are typically linked to a history of domestic violence. It can reach a critical point if the wife says she wants out of a relationship.

Those who work to combat domestic violence say an estimated 40 percent of women in King County are victims of abuse from an intimate partner according to a 2009 study by Group Health. They also says the number likely is higher.

And 755 people died as a result of domestic violence between 1997 and 2010, according to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project.

That’s just here. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1,200 deaths and more than 2 million injuries each year come from intimate partner violence. That was “each year.”

There’s no easy answer for this problem. These tragedies strike all areas, age groups, income level – no demographic is immune.

If there’s not a cure, there is help. The Eastside Domestic Violence Program operates a 24-hour crisis line at 425-746-1940 or 1-800-827-8840. If you are in a domestic violence situation – or know someone who is – call – NOW. Victims can get help, but only if it’s not too late.

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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