Following the performance of 23 Bruises: The Lisa King Story, at the Night of Hope Gala this year, I found the discussions interesting. We know from experience that it is almost impossible to get people interested in issues involving Domestic Violence. The group seemed to be totally into opening up for the benefit of those in attendance. Participants in the informal discussion were representatives from the Mesa Prosecutors office, members of law enforcement, educators, FTH board members and the public at large.
The Board Member
Board Member, Carl Crawford, accelerated the discussion with a comment that, in effect, expressed his complete dismay that anyone could intentionally and repeatedly hurt another person that they lived with and supposedly loved.
The Law Enforcement
The law enforcement contribution expressed the frustration of investing time and effort protecting the victim that won’t testify, or that just runs back into the arms of the abuser.
Another view we found interesting, is the fact that if a person is hurt in a supermarket robbery they are immediately named “the victim”. However, if a person is hurt in a domestic violence relationship they are immediately indicted for being at the scene.
Why is it that if a person is killed or injured in a store robbery they are immediately deemed the victim. If a person in a crosswalk is hit by a hit-and-run driver, they too, are the victim. But if one or the other member of a couple is hurt in a domestic violence incident they are indicted for being there. They should have not been there with the abuser. No one considers that there might have been no other option.
The prosecutors brought an interesting issue to the light. They are finding it difficult to put a case together because of the slow judicial system in which they are forced to work. With the dynamics of Domestic Violence issues, often the situation in the case changes so fast they need to add new facts to their case.
We felt this dialog at the Gala to be tremendously important in working to bring an end to Domestic/Dating Violence. It highlighted the need for Law Enforcement, Judiciary, and Domestic Violence groups to find ways to work together to remove these obstacles.
We at Fix the Hurt will focus on this specific issue during the coming months.