To the editor:
The recent murder of Kasandra Perkins by NFL football player Jovan Belcher, and his own suicide, are reminders of the prevalence of domestic violence in our society.
Domestic violence is the ultimate expression of power and control of one person over the other, regardless of socio-economic, ethnic, racial, gender identity, sexual orientation and educational backgrounds and professions — anyone can be a victim or a perpetrator.
On average, every day in the United States, three women are killed by their intimate partners. In Massachusetts since 2003, domestic violence homicide perpetrators have killed 261 people — 60 percent of whom were female domestic violence victims killed by male partners and 29 percent are friends and family members of the domestic violence victim. In 28 percent of these incidents, the domestic violence homicide perpetrator also committed suicide. As this incident shows, the presence of firearms increases the risk for more deadly violence.
The homicide of Kasandra Perkins in Kansas City is a reminder of the dangers victims face in their own homes. It’s also a wake-up call to facilitate conversations about healthy relationships in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces and with our teams.
If we are serious about preventing tragedies like the murder of Ms. Perkins, we also need to address the gendered nature of domestic violence: 1) why men disproportionally commit violence against women; and 2) why women who are killed in the U.S. are more at risk of being murdered by a current or former partner than by a stranger. The sad reality is that the actions of Mr. Belcher are far too common and not an isolated event.
The Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center is one of more than 50 community-based programs in Massachusetts that seek to empower members of our community to live free from fear, intimidation, violence or the threat of abuse. To learn more about our services, please visit our website at www.jeannegeigercrisiscenter.org or if you or anyone you know is in need of services, please call our 24-hour hotline at 978-388-1888.
Suzanne C. Dubus
Chief executive officer
Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center