As we talk with people about the work DVRC does to help victims of domestic violence one of the most frequent comments we hear is, “but that kind of thing doesn’t happen that much in Saratoga County, does it?” Unfortunately it does. Our hotline averages 1,700 each year and we assist close to 1,000 victims of abuse. We see men, women and children, all ages, ethnicities and from every area of the county. In fact, domestic violence is the second most frequent violent crime in our county, second only to drunk/drugged driving. It affects families, workplaces, how kids function in school. So why don’t we notice it? Is it because it happens inside the walls of a home where we don’t see? Is it because victims don’t tell anyone until they reach the breaking point? Or is it because we love the vibrant, safe community we call home and don’t want to notice anything that tarnishes that image.
In recent news stories we’ve had three tragic deaths associated with domestic violence. Just a couple of weeks ago a young son who intervened as his mother was assaulted , killed the abuser, and is now in jail pending grand jury because of that tragedy. Just days ago a woman died at home; it’s alleged that her husband of 46 years, a former police officer, killed her. Three weeks ago a 22 year old man died after months in a coma from injuries sustained in an accident as he was fleeing police after he was observed assaulting his girlfriend. Most of the time we can manage not to notice the prevalence of domestic violence here in Saratoga County. Lately, that’s getting harder. Maybe it’s time to really look… and to work together to END relationship abuse.