By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
My local community was shaken a few weeks ago by yet another domestic violence-related tragedy. It appears that a man murdered two women, one of whom is thought to be his girlfriend, and he badly injured another woman. All of this happened before he killed himself following a police chase and car crash. One look at the map of this incident shows how the violence and related chaos spread throughout a sizable area within the city and county.
It was undoubtedly a travesty to the victims’ families, friends, co-workers, and other loved ones, and it was no less a travesty for our entire community to see precious lives lost in such a horrific way.
I believe strongly that every single person in every community needs to feel safe in their relationships and wherever they go in the community at large--their workplaces, schools, religious organizations, and even as we go about running errands, driving around town, and taking care of the business of our day-to-day lives.
And yet, even today, many people believe that domestic violence--any any violence that occurs within families or between partners in an intimate relationship--is a private family matter. People often think that it’s best not to intervene in other people’s personal business, even if they know or suspect that abuse is occurring.
The tragic events in my community--as well as similar incidents that occur in communities across the country--provide a heartbreaking reminder that domestic violence affects the entire community. Think of all the people’s lives touched or put at risk by the events involved in that particular incident--such as those working at the post office where the beating occurred, those driving on the roads in the vicinity of the car chase, and of course all those in the community who are mourning the loss of loved ones, not to mention all of us who were deeply saddened when we heard the news of these senseless losses in our community.
The effects of domestic violence ripple across every segment of our communities. We need strong, swift actions--by individual community members, community organizations, professional service providers, and our governmental representatives--to do more to promote safety and peace in our community, starting in our families and relationships.
Stopping the violence requires a broad-based, full community effort to work together to develop new and creative approaches to stopping violence. Involvement is needed from groups that may not traditionally view themselves as part of the movement to end domestic violence, including religious organizations, neighborhoods, community groups, and workplaces.
I am deeply troubled every time I hear of another domestic violence tragedy, especially when I think of how many other cases of domestic violence occur never get reported, either to professionals or in the media. I encourage every reader to consider the following question: “What can I do to be a part of creating a safe community for everyone?” I believe that, by working together, we can create communities that foster safe, nonviolent relationships for every person in every segment of the community.