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Forum: Help prevent domestic violence

Updated: February 16, 2013 6:33AM



For many of us, the recent winter holidays brought joy, excitement, special times and memories with family members. But for many others, it was a time of anxiety, stress and fear.

Consider these statistics: One in four women in the United States has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner; 37 percent of women treated at emergency rooms for violence-related injuries were harmed by a current or former spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend; a woman who leaves her abusive partner has a 50 percent chance of her standard of living dropping below the poverty line; and domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.

In the Southland recently, news reports included a woman who was stabbed and set on fire, along with her children, by her abusive partner; a woman stabbed to death by her husband as their young daughter listened in horror from the next room; a woman beaten to death by her husband and left in the front yard of their home.

Such violence is happening every day (imagine what goes unreported!) in all of our communities, not only in “bad neighborhoods.” The perpetrators of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all socioeconomic levels, all educational backgrounds, as do their victims.

South Suburban Family Shelter has been working tirelessly for more than 32 years to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and their families — including a 24-hour hot line, an emergency shelter, counseling for adult victims and their children, court and medical advocacy and an abuser intervention program.

If you know or suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship, let the victim know you are concerned about them, they are not alone and there is help for them. Please visit our website (www.ssfs1.org) or call our office at (708) 794-2140 to learn more. The more we talk and educate about domestic violence, the more we can help prevent it.

Vicki Meilach

Community outreach coordinator

South Suburban Family Shelter

Homewood

Focus gun debate on criminals

Planes crash into the World Trade Center. We focus on the terrorists, not the plane. A van blows up a federal building in Kansas City. We focus on the anarchist, not the van nor the easily accessible explosives. A truck runs into pedestrians in downtown Chicago. We focus on the drunken driver, not the truck.

But a gangbanger shoots another gangbanger or an innocent bystander and what do we focus on? The gun. Not the criminal.

Why don’t we keep the criminals in prison longer? Overcrowding is not an issue if we can close four prisons in Illinois. There are many more guns than criminals, so we should focus on the low-hanging fruit, the criminals.

Let’s face it, gun violence is mostly a revolving door of repeat customers. There are many guns owned by law-abiding citizens that are never used in a crime. Criminals in prison cannot use guns, thus eliminating most gun violence and crime if they are incarcerated longer.

Steve Danielczyk

Frankfort



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