Three-fourths of people killed by domestic violence either were leaving or had just left an abusive relationship, said Maggie Reeves, research coordinator for the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, which documents domestic-related killings in an annual Domestic Violence Fatality Review.
"Georgia's Fatality Review consistently finds that domestic violence homicide victims had taken steps toward independence just prior to the homicide," Reeves said.
That's what happened last week to Carlotta Shields Appling, a 39-year-old Jefferson woman whose divorce soon would be final. She moved out of the home she'd shared with her husband a month earlier, and had a court order that forbade him from having any contact with her.
But as Carlotta got ready for work Monday morning, 42-year-old Anthony Appling forced his way into her home and shot her to death in her bedroom, police said.
The murder-suicide shows how pending divorce and protective orders aren't enough to ensure an abused woman's safety, Reeves said.The article goes on to talk about safety planning and gives a real life example of one woman's plan that she devised with the help of an organization like ours. When planning to leave, it is vitally important for women to take some time to safety plan, both for the actual moment that you leave and immediately afterward. We have a printable safety plan on our website, and advocates are available in Atlanta and across the country 24 hours per day to discuss it with you and modify it for your needs. Please call us at (404) 688-9436 or call the national DV hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to speak with an advocate.
"Legal options can be a great tool, but for the abusers, they can be seen just as a piece of paper," she said.