Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rash of DV Murders in Atlanta

This weekend was a tragic one in Georgia with 4 domestic violence homicides in less than that many days.

Police say a Roswell man killed his elderly mother and then himself.

Daughter and abusive boyfriend planned Clayton mom's killing, officials say. [update] Later reports expand on the probability that the victim's daughter was compelled to keep quite and assist in the cover up after her boyfriend killed her mother.

Police: Fulton Man shot ex-girlfriend in front of couple's two children.

North of Atlanta, a Jackson County man is also accused of killing his estranged wife before killing himself after police located him in Clarke County.

It is unfortunate that it takes many women being killed by abusive men in a short amount of time for many in our community to recognize that domestic violence is an epidemic that claims the lives of thousands of women every year. Even then, most are looking for an easy answer as to what causes domestic violence or what might have caused the rise in numbers of homicides. AJC reporter Marcus Garner did a fantastic job of reaching out to the experts here in Atlanta for an explanation, but he didn't get an easy answer, because there isn't one to give.

It's true that during poor economies, incidents of domestic violence often rise, as Allison Smith of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence pointed out. Lack of control in other areas of your life, such as losing your job or not being able to find work when you want it, often inspires those with a predisposition toward violence to seek that control over their family or loved ones. Thus, the root could also be control, as mentioned by Sulaiman Nurridin of Men Stopping Violence. Finally, it could be a criminal justice system that does not take domestic violence seriously enough. As our own ED commented, in the case of the man who killed his children's mother during a custody exchange, there was a protective order in place. The judge clearly felt that it wasn't safe for him to have access to his victim, yet it was OK for him to have access to his children? If the judge in the case had taken the level of risk seriously, he or she could have ordered supervised exchanges or supervised visits and it is possible that this murder could have been prevented.

Domestic violence is a complex issue and, like all complex issues, it requires many solutions. Until our community begins taking domestic violence seriously, working to understand its motivation, and holding men who use violence accountable, this won't be the last tragic weekend we have in Georgia.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families who lost loved ones this weekend.

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