1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men say they have been abused in some manner by an intimate partner. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner. 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by a previous intimate partner to a point that they felt fearful.
The Washington Post found that nearly 1/2 of the women who were murdered during the past decade were killed by a current or former intimate partner. 1/3 of them were known to be a potential threat ahead of the attacks.
With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to shed some light on the subject. It is something that I feel is not talked about enough. So many stories we hear about women who are being hurt by their partners, some who have been murdered. It seems like there are always warning signs before hand, but they get ignored, our the victim gets blamed. So many times we hear, “why did she not leave?” “She should have filed a restraining order.” But is it really that simple? I want to take the time to shed light on stories of domestic violence, in this case the story of Ciera Jackson from St. Louis.
Ciera was 24 years old and raising her 11 year old brother. She had a great life, and was living it. She only had this one issue, Victor Whittier. Victor was her ex boyfriend and someone she just could not seem to get rid of. While they were together Victor was abusive, but Ciera was able to get out of the relationship, which is usually a tough thing to do. Though she ended the relationship, she still couldn’t get rid of him. Victor continued to stalk Ciera to the point of making her fearful for her own safety.
Ciera finally went and filed for a restraining order after contacting police because Victor was sending her threatening texts and would just linger outside of her apartment. This was not the first time she contacted the police over Victor. She had previously called because he broke into her apartment and ransacked it, but she did not end up pursuing criminal charges against him. She wrote in the court documents that she feared for her safety because, “I have been physically abused by him before, and I know what he is capable of.”
Ciera even went to her property manager and asked if she could get out of her lease early, she wanted to leave quietly and secretly with her brother, another plan to escape Victor’s. grip.
On August 2, 2017, Ciera was granted a 1 year restraining order against Victor, he was not allowed within 2,500 feet of her. But 11 days later, she was found dead.
Ciera’s 11 year old brother was in the other room when the murder happened. He heard Victor’s voice followed by gunshots. He called the police and it was found that Victor had shot Ciera 4 times through her apartment window. Ciera seen the warning signs, and she was not protected from what she knew was coming. Victor was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Stories like this come out of Domestic Violence situations all the time, and that is the sad reality. A presence of a gun in the home increases the likely hood of homicide by 550%! On a typical day the Domestic Violence hotline receives 20,000 calls nationwide as 20 people per minute are physically abused in the U.S.
The people we love and care about sometimes may need our help so be on the look of these signs if you suspect something is going on:
- They have injuries or bruises
- They always have an excuse for the injury or bruise
- Their personality changes- low self-esteem develops out of nowhere
- They are always checking in with their partner
- They are constantly worried about pleasing their partner
- Their clothes don’t fit the time of year such as long sleeves in summer
If you are in an abusive relationship, please get help. I promise you they will not change and you cannot fix them. I know it is scary, most women are afraid and that is why they stay, but you are worth so much more than the abuse. Make you and Emergency Escape Plan!
EMERGENCY ESCAPE PLAN
- hide a set of keys somewhere
- have a bag packed with keys, money, clothes, and important papers stored at a friends house.
- Know where you will go and how you will get there
- Make a plan for contacting authorities, such as having a code word with friends and family.
If you need someone to talk to the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
Statistics found here: http://www.ncadv.org/statistics
Ciera’s story was found here: http://washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/investigations/domestic-violence-murders