Lake Twp. murders reinforce importance of Domestic Violence Awareness MonthWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
The purple that stands for Domestic Violence Awareness Month is often overshadowed by a sea of pink for breast cancer.
This year, the presidential election — and the Detroit Tigers’ run for the World Series — serve as yet other distractions.
On Oct. 16, when many people were watching the debate or the American League Championship Series game, three people, including a 3-year-old, were killed during a domestic violence dispute in Lake Township.
In the middle of all this, I noticed a Facebook post asking for prayers as the tragedy unfolded in the apartment complex.
I tried to get some additional news, but local media outlets were focused on the Obama/Romney brouhaha.
I was the first to tell Nancy Neylon, executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, about these latest domestic violence victims. Based in Columbus, she hadn’t heard the news yet.
Neylon said anyone who sees, hears or suspects domestic violence should call law enforcement, even if it seems small or just yelling.
“If you see something that is potentially dangerous, you could get killed,” Neylon said. “It is really important
that you call law enforcement.”
Don’t worry about getting involved in someone else’s business or wasting a police officer’s time. People rarely hesitate to call when seeing other types of crimes, she said.
“Your civic duty is to make a call to law enforcement. How bad do you feel if someone gets killed or badly injured?” she said.
“It is better to call than to do nothing.”
Neylon said domestic violence awareness doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, but the presidential election should be a chance for additional dialogue.
“Frankly, the election gives us an opportunity to highlight the needs of women,” Neylon said. “I would have loved one of [the candidates] to say domestic violence is an economic issue, as well as fair pay, as well as access to health care.”
When a woman is in a relationship, her partner could be controlling the finances, which is a tactic of abusers, she said. Sometimes the batterers sabotage the women at work or don’t allow them to get a job — or even an education.
Neylon knew of one woman whose husband urinated on all of her professional clothes before a big business meeting, hence putting her job in jeopardy.
If the woman does leave, the abuse doesn’t necessarily end. Many abusers will continue to visit and harass the woman, she said, which affects everyone in the family.
This makes domestic violence awareness just as important as breast cancer research. Both need a cure.
There is a lot of pink out there, which is good, but we would like to add some purple, Neylon said.
Email questions or comments to Toledo Free Press Community Ombudsman Brandi Barhite at bbarhite@toledofree press.com.