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Combating domestic violence in the FLX

On Sunday, February 21st the quiet city of Geneva was rocked by violence. Around 11:45 am the 911 calls started. Reports of gun shots being fired in the city quickly began circulating around Geneva. A mix of witness and police reports reveal that a physical altercation began in an SUV, carried out into a parking lot on Exchange Street, and then ended with a man — who will remain nameless in this op-ed — shooting a woman. She would later die from the injuries sustained on Exchange Street.The victim was Emily Carson, a nurse at Geneva General Hospital who was celebrating her 38th birthday on the day her life was taken. She had three children ranging in age from nine to twenty. According to her family, friends, and employer caring for others, especially her children was the most-important thing in her life. Carson was a nurse for nearly 20 years, dedicating herself professionally to helping those when they were at their weakest. It has been called a brutal attack, an act of random violence, and a tragedy. None of those descriptions are wrong, but none of those words do the horrible crime that took place Sunday morning justice. Police called it an act of domestic violence. In January, I wrote an op-ed for the college publication Coed following the double murder-suicide in Geneseo calling for greater awareness, more advocacy, and specific focus on the core issues at play in domestic violence. In that tragedy, a disgruntled ex-boyfriend took the life of his ex-girlfriend and a man authorities believe was her current boyfriend at the time.When police arrived, the trio had all deceased. Police treated the investigation as a murder-suicide, the same way the crime in Geneva has been investigated.Today, I’m writing another op-ed, on another pointless tragedy that could have, should have, would have been prevented — if we treated domestic violence as an issue with the respect and urgency it requires.Statistically speaking, domestic violence is alarmingly common for those between the ages of 18 and 24. What Carson’s murder reminds us is that domestic violence can impact anyone — regardless of age or background.However, this is not just a women’s issue. This is not just a low-income issue. This is not an issue that has racial bounds, and it certainly is not an issue that can be fit into any box. This is a messy, complicated, and challenging issue that has to be dealt with because right now in the U.S., a woman is beaten or assaulted every nine seconds.Geneva Police said that there was no trend of domestic violence between the two. There were no calls to 911. There were no confidential conversations had between Carson and her family or friends. There were no visible warning signs.We need to stop using that as an excuse, though. When tragedy like this strikes, we are quick to highlight the — “We didn’t know,” which only highlights our inability to deal with the real problem. As long as we keep saying, “there were no visible warning signs” every time a tragedy like this happens, we all share in the responsibility. Geneva is no stranger to this type of tragedy, either. In 2009, Helen Buchel and Brittany Passalacqua were the victims of a violent murder, which was rooted in domestic violence. Since, Dale Cook, the paternal grandmother of Brittany Passalacqua has advocated for Brittany’s Law, which has passed the New York State Senate a resounding five times in as many years. While it isn’t yet law, local legislators like Senator Michael Nozzolio and Assemblyman Brian Kolb have advocated hard for this violent offenders registry to be signed into law. While Brittany’s Law might not have prevented this tragedy, it’s the awareness of domestic violence that has to be highlighted.The Vera House in Syracuse is just one of the many organizations dedicated to preventing and ending domestic violence. In Rochester, the Willow Domestic Violence Center works to do the same. The Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, located in Newark works to accomplish the same goals. In Ontario County, the Family Counseling Service of the Finger Lakes exists in the city of Geneva to help those facing difficult circumstances. Let’s be clear: Ignorance does not free us of responsibility. As a society, we have a responsibility to the victims. That responsibility starts with addressing the core problem and putting the time, resources, and energy into ending domestic violence like so many individuals and organizations have been working tirelessly to do throughout the years.Domestic Violence by the Numbers– Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten.- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.- 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%. – Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.- 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.Domestic Violence Resources in the Finger LakesGenevaNewark/Wayne CountyAuburnIthacaCanandaigua/RochesterSeneca CountyOntario CountyYates County

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