The Union Recorder

Editorials

April 5, 2014

National Crime Victims Rights Week: Engage in domestic violence awareness, be a solution

MILLEDGEVILLE — One hundred twenty-eight Georgians died in domestic violence-related homicides in 2012, the consecutive year that saw an increase in fatalities.

Next week begins National Crime Victims Rights Week, and locally there are several events slated to remember victims whose lives were cut short and create awareness on the issue.

Not all cases result in fatalities, but the violence takes numerous forms: emotional, psychological, physical, sexual and even financial. The number of violence cases weighs heavily in the thousands every year in Georgia and in Baldwin County.

Women and children are disproportionately most affected, and in many instances the abuse begins in the younger years. One in every four women in America at some point in their lifetimes will experience domestic violence. Yet, this type of violence if most often one of the nation’s most chronically underreported crimes.

Children often see first-hand the abuse and are more likely to contribute to the vicious cycle as they become adults.

Most often, children are directly involved. Of the 128 domestic violence fatalities in 2012, in the majority of the cases, the victim and the perpetrator of that homicide shared a minor child together, according to statistics from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence.

According to the Georgia College Women’s Center, research shows that between 20 and 25 percent of college women will be the victim of a completed or attempted sexual assault by the time they graduate college. In the 2012 cases reviewed by the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, 46 percent of victims began their relationship with the person who eventually killed them when they were between the ages of 16 and 24.

A Violence Policy Center review of 2011 FBI crime data found that 94 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a male they knew, and 61 percent of those killers were a spouse or intimate acquaintance.

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