Editorial: There must be a way out of domestic abuse

A recent editorial by the Youngstown Vindicator:

When we think of domestic violence, many of us have a picture planted by scenes on television or in movies that involves adults — usually with a female as the victim. Often the person is battered and bruised, but alive. The reality is far harsher.

Domestic violence affects those of all genders and ages. According to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, 112 people died as a result of domestic violence here, in the year ending June 30, 2022. A heartbreaking 22 of those deaths were youths — the highest number since the group started keeping track.

“Every domestic violence fatality is a tragedy, but this year’s youth fatality numbers are truly shocking,” said ODVN’s director of systems advocacy and policy council Lisa DeGeeter, according to a report by WOIO in Cleveland.

Another jaw-dropping statistic: In 42% of the cases, more than one person was killed.

Layer upon layer of problem has led us to this, and to the need, as ODVN puts it, for “social and systemic change.”

Those who report domestic violence must know they will be heard — and truly protected, if need be. They must know it will be their abusers who are held accountable, rather than blame falling on the victims.

“We are committed to facilitating changes necessary to end oppression and violence within ourselves, and within economic, social and political systems,” ODVN declares on its website. “We are committed to advancing the community’s responsibility for stopping the violence.”

Yes, we bear responsibility. All of us. We must listen; we must be aware; and we must report what we see if we suspect abuse. We must support the organizations capable of providing support to victims. And we must set better examples and raise our children to be better. One-hundred-twelve Ohioans — 22 of them young people — are gone now because they had no way out.

We owe it to them to do more.

— Youngstown Vindicator, October 19, 2022