Being close to a crime scene – domestic violence


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We now know that last Sunday around 10 pm two people were shot to death in our neighbor’s house.  The shooter who was the husband of one of the dead persons is under arrest for two cases of first degree murder.  The husband who had recently moved out of the house as, the wife had asked for a divorce, came to his former home and found his wife there with another man. He shot both of them and took their bodies away and buried them in a wooded area not far away from where his parents live.

We do not know the motive our neighbor to kill his wife and her friend but it is certainly the worst case of domestic violence.  Ironically October is the Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one out of four women will experience domestic violence in their life time and every year, and intimate partner violence result in 2 million injuries and 1 200 deaths every year in the US.  In 2005, Florida had 120,386 reported incidents of domestic violence. Domestic violence accounted for 176 (20%) of the state's 881 murders. Source: Florida Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team Annual Report, 2006.

 The Swedish organization Kvinno Jouren (Women’s Hotline) has listed some common traits  that can indicate that a man might become abusive to his spouse, and as I read it I know that all of us in the neighborhood observed the traits in this man who now killed two people;

- The man expresses a negative attitude towards women, he might comment on certain women as dressed like prostitutes and that women should oblige their husbands and know their place.

- He gets aggressive after drinking alcohol and he is involved in fights.

- He is overall aggressive and breaks things.

Could we, friends and neighbors have done anything to prevent this horrible crime?

We saw all the above signs in this man but we did not connect it to domestic violence.

It is difficult when people do not reach out for help, the police told us that the wife had never filed a domestic violence complaint and we never saw any obvious signs of abuse.

Domestic abuse is an increasing problem also in Sweden. The Swedish Police initiated a campaign against domestic violence in September this year, it is according to them their largest information campaign ever and is triggered by the increase in violence against women in Sweden, up until July this year 9 490 cases of domestic violence have been reported and 1 572 cases of repeated violence (grov kvinnofridskrankning) has been reported.

The Swedish police want to encourage us to get engaged in domestic violence and to make sure that the violence is brought out to the daylight by friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers so that this type of crime can be fought properly. If you want to read more, in Swedish, the web site address is http://www.polisen.se/komtilloss/.   We are still in shock over what happened here last week and it will take a long time before life goes back to normal. I have learnt that we need to look out more for signs of domestic abuse and for those of us that have children, we have to teach them to show respect to each other and to never, ever tolerate verbal or physical abuse in a relationship.

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