Domestic Violence is All Too Real

I was horrified by a string of recent murders carried out in Pennsylvania.  A father kills his ex-wife, her mother, a nephew and a number of other relatives.  He then kills himself after an extensive manhunt.  Bradley Stone was an Iraq war veteran and had been discharged honorably.  He was trying to cope with the effects of Post Traumatic War Syndrome.  He committed these crimes in a bucolic section of Pennsylvania in which the first response will often be, 'This type of thing doesn't happen around here'.  It doesn't make it any better that this event happened right before Christmas.  While many of us are watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer for the 50th time, this family is planning multiple funerals.

The aspect of this crime that concerns me is the veteran status of the perpetrator.  We have so many young men and women that have been exposed to war and the atrocities that are committed during war.  My idea of a veteran is a seventy year old who might have served in Vietnam or World War II.  My work with an organization called Impact Services realigned my thought process to the reality that twenty and thirty year old's face as they try to adjust to civilian life after suffering the loss of limbs, sight and the loss of normalcy.  If it was PTSD that caused this man to slaughter his immediate family, I pray for more mental health services.  I also thank God that he didn't kill his children.

On the West Coast there was another horrific case of domestic violence.  Stephanie Moseley was a dancer and model who who was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1984.  A Google search by anyone would reveal that she was a very beautiful young woman who was making a way for herself in Hollywood.  She had roles in a cheerleader series called 'Hit the Floor'.  She was a backup dancer for Beyonce, Britney Spears and Chris Brown.  She had over 95,000 followers on Instagram.  Some reports reveal that her husband, rapper Earl Hayes, killed her over an alleged affair with singer Trey Songz that was over two years old.  This same rapper had written a song about murder suicide earlier in his career.  The whole aspect of art imitating life is too real in this instance.  God Bless Stephanie Moseley and her Family.

I am familiar with the tragedy of domestic violence.  My youngest Brother has served more than half of his life in prison after being convicted of ending the life of the Mother of his child.  It was a devastating event in my life and made me want to be a person who could resolve marital discord by talking through problems.  October is Domestic Violence awareness month and the stories of women who are abused by their partners or spouses are the subject of numerous studies and proposed solutions.  Jealousy and possessiveness never seem to be a reason to end a life.  The children and families of the perpetrators and victims wish that there could be a different solution to the acts of violence that often flare up in relationships.

Women Against Abuse is one of the major organizations that helps women and families affected by this epidemic.  In 2012, 8,535 individuals called the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hot line for assistance with domestic violence issues.  Philadelphia has a lower number of domestic violence shelter beds compared to nearby cities.  The Women's Law Project and key community partners work together to help create safe havens for women and their children.  I have heard cases of men being abused but I feel that our women bear the brunt of insecure men who can find better ways to express themselves than beating on the weaker sex.  The consequences of domestic violence are deadly and real.  Let's work to keep our wives, sisters and daughters SAFE!!

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