According to the Department of Justice, 30% of all female murder victims are killed by an "intimate". 18.4% are murdered by their husbands, with another 10.3 killed by a boyfriend. In an average year, there are 17,000 murders in the united States, which shakes out to roughly 4,879 women killed every year by domestic violence.
Think about that number. That's a 9/11 every year. The world changes forever when that many people are killed in a day. When we lose that many in a year, we shrug and go on with our lives as though nothing happened at all.
Perhaps it's a symptom of some personality defect of mine. Don't worry--- There are plenty more where this one comes from. Unless it's a Laci Peterson or an Ashley Scott, some beautiful, smiling murder victim that gnaws at your consciousness, it's all too easy to overlook the thousands of victims every year that remain nameless and faceless.
Then again, judging by media reactions, I don't think I'm the only one with this particular personality defect. If Ashley Scott wasn't attractive, the story would have been dead after her husband's arraignment. And how many women in our own city died from domestic abuse, forgotten, while Laci Peterson's smiling face is still a part of our consciousness? Even if someone does what I did--- Try like hell to avoid any and all news coverage of the Peterson case--- Who among us wouldn't recognize that head shot of her that ran in at least one media outlet a day for a year and a half straight?
We focus on these cases, singled out from the myriad of others, because they carry tremendous shock value. Who among us hasn't looked at a picture of Ashley Scott and thought "Who could hurt her?"
There are a lot of organizations out there with the goal of helping women escape their abusers. They deserve not only our admiration, but our support. They deserve it all the time--- Not just when there's a pretty face on the graphic superimposed behind the news anchor.
Follow this link. It takes you to a partial list (Partial only because many shelters for battered women do not give out the addresses of the shelters themselves--- A wise move) of shelters of all kinds. Some, such as Sophia's House, specialize in sheltering women that are fleeing abuse. Others focus on helping other homeless people, and they too are worthy causes.
Plan on one extra Christmas gift this year. Make a donation to one of these places. Ladies, you can help in a way we men can't--- If you have any clothing you're not wearing anymore, they can put it to good use--- Many women go there with nothing but what's on their backs.
There will never be an end to domestic violence. But we owe it to the women in our community and the children they raise to help organizations that provide the victims of it with an escape route.
My good friend Sarah mentioned some other ways to help out. This is what she wrote:
Well put, Fredonian. In addition to money and clothes, most of these shelters need bed sheets, toiletries, toilet paper, towels: things that many of us throw out un-used or donate to Goodwill each year.
People can also help by donating unwanted cell phones to one of the many national programs that refurbishes these phones and provides them to women trying to get out of an abusive situation. A cell phone with no service provider will still call 911. There are many good programs that do this, but I know that The Body Shop has a strong program.