For Immediate Release
January 4, 2019
Contact: Burgandy Fitzhenry
Public Relations Manager
Domestic Violence in St. Louis
The Women’s Safe House is deeply saddened by the recent incidents of domestic violence homicides during this holiday season. Domestic violence continues to plague the St. Louis community and it does not discriminate against gender, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. It’s all too common for us to turn on the local news and see that there has been another homicide or reported case of domestic violence. In 2018, there were 18 known domestic violence homicides throughout the St. Louis region with 5,593 incidents of domestic violence being reported*.
As a domestic violence shelter we frequently ask ourselves, what more can we do? How can we make a larger impact on the community? One answer that comes to mind is more education about domestic violence and the available resources in the community. It seems like a simple answer for a complex problem, but we believe that by educating our community, we can take a step closer to ending the cycle of violence.
If you have ever asked yourself what more can you do, here are some actionable things you can do that could potentially help save the life of someone who is experiencing domestic violence.
- Educate yourself. It is important that as a community we are able to recognize the signs of abuse. Some of the red flags are isolation from friends and family, extreme jealousy, threatening violence, harassment, shaming, and stalking.
- If you suspect something, say something. All too often, friends and family say they suspected that abuse might be taking place, but they were not sure how to address it or what to do about it. Ask questions and share resources in a way that is safe for the victim.
- Be supportive of those that confide in us and remember to share resources. You don’t need to be in charge of making decisions for someone else’s life, but you can be that helping hand that lets them know there are options other than living in violence. There are programs and services offered in St. Louis that can help victims with safe shelter, support groups, or to understand how to get legal help.
- Understand that the safest immediate solution is not always “just leave”. Did you know that when a woman makes the decision to leave her abuser, it is the most lethal time in that woman’s life, and, if the abuser has access to a gun, the lethality of the victim increases by 400%. Resources exist in our community that can help a victim take the necessary steps to safely leave his or her abuser.
The Women’s Safe House is an emergency domestic violence shelter that provides safe shelter and resources to empower women to gain independence after leaving. Too many times we see women come through our doors that are afraid for their life and the lives of their children. Most importantly, these women don’t want their children to end up in the same cycle of violence that they escaped.
For additional information regarding The Women’s Safe House, visit our website at www.twsh.org, our 24-hour hotline is 314-772-4535. Additional resources to access domestic violence services include Safe Connections, St. Martha’s Hall, Lydia’s House, ALIVE, Kathy J. Weinman, and Crime Victim Advocacy Center.
*DV and Homicide incidents from Missouri State Highway Patrol