The deadly truth

For the second year in a row, Nevada ranks first in the rate of women murdered by men. According to a new report by the Violence Policy Center, the data shows that our state has the worst record. Of the 35 homicides that happened in Nevada in 2009 (the period studied for the report), most of them were spouses or girlfriends of their murderers. Nevada has been first on this grizzly list for four out of the past five years.

Past studies have shown a strong correlation between female victims of murder and domestic violence. In 2005, a third of all women murdered were killed by an intimate partner. And, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PDF), in 70-80% of intimate partner homicide cases, no matter which partner was killed the man physically assaulted the woman prior to the murder.

This news comes less than two weeks before Domestic Violence Awareness Month starts. I have written about DV in so many ways and for so many years. Sometimes I wonder if it is doing anything at all. But then I remember the people I’ve met who have broken free of domestic violence. For those people, so often it took one message, one friend, one article in a magazine… and that was what finally let them find the courage to get the help they needed.

If I can be that one message on this one day, then let me be that for whomever may find this: You deserve to be safe. You deserve to live your life free from fear and tyranny.

I know it is not easy to take the first step to end the cycle of violence. I know that, in fact, the first step is the hardest one of all. But there is a world of caring, supportive professionals, organizations, faith leaders, and even co-workers and loved ones close to you who are ready to be there for you. Right now. Today. This minute.

Do not wait for tomorrow to live. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Live today. Live now!

Here are some resources for your journey:

The Domestic Violence Awareness Project has an amazing wealth of information including how to decide if you are experiencing domestic violence, resources and tips for those who may be trying to help someone in a DV situation.

Locally, if you need help right now, call 911 or…

  • Call the 24-hour Safe Nest crisis line at 800-486-7282.
  • If you are a student on campus, you can all the new 24-hour UNLV Care line at 702-895-0602.
  • In Henderson, call SAFE House at 702-564-3227, 24 hours a day.
  • If you have been sexually assaulted stemming from a domestic violence incident (or under any other circumstances), please contact the Rape Crisis Center or RAINN (national).

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