Protection, one case at a time

It may be commonplace to view domestic violence as a pervasive and monolithic problem: A big “thing” we just wish would disappear.

In truth, a heart-rending mixture of emotional, developmental, social and economic factors gives domestic violence many faces and unleashes it in many different circumstances.

It can involve physical and psychological violence, coercion, stalking or bullying. It can be rural, urban or suburban. It can occur among family members and partners young or old. It can scar so-called respectable families and fragmented families alike.

And there is no cure-all.

Government and organizations can create programs that reduce the rate of these crimes or provide support for victims. Media and education can foster awareness and healthier social models. But this “big problem” is actually thousands and thousands of specific, individual tragedies. And each one requires its own intervention or response.

An April 17 article by Daily Herald reporter Rikki King identified a frequent dynamic among domestic violence cases in our region: Girls or young women are being killed by older boyfriends or male partners. In Washington, a majority of murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94 percent of the victims are female and a third are younger than 21.

Even before violence begins, there often are warning signs that a girl’s personal life is growing dangerous: Repeated breakups, bullying, efforts by a male to control the female’s choices and activities, and suicide threats from the abuser.

The protection of potential victims falls on our shoulders as individuals. Ominous developments in these interpersonal relationships aren’t tracked by governments or organizations, they aren’t always detected at school or church — they are apparent only to close friends and family.

When we are aware of these situations, it is easy to butt out … assuming our involvement would be unwelcome.

But we owe our sisters and daughters and friends more than polite restraint. We need to actively connect them with the legal and social services that may save their lives.

Even if our personal circle of friends and family doesn’t include anyone facing this kind of threat, we can support groups and agencies in our community that are committed to intervening on behalf of those threatened by domestic abuse.

A good place to start is the Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, which operates a hotline (425-25-ABUSE) and provides emergency shelter and confidential services to victims. It also offers free Teen Dating Violence Prevention presentations. Ways to support these programs can be found online, www.dvs-snoco.org/index.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, July 22

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Scott Spahr, Generation Engineering Manager at Snohomish County PUD, points to a dial indicating 4 megawatts of power production from one of two Francis turbine units at the Henry M. Jackson Powerhouse on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, near Sultan, Washington. Some of the water that passes through units 3 and 4 — the two Francis turbines — is diverted to Lake Chaplain, which supplies water to Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Amber King best suited for PUD’s 2nd District seat

Among three solid candidates, King’s knowledge of utilities and contracts will serve ratepayers well.

Brooks: Democrats must provide an answer to MAGA’s promises

For Democrats to succeed, they need to offer people a future of both security and progress.

Krugman: For Trump, once again, it’s carnage in America

Ignoring the clear decline in crime rates for much of the country, Trump basks in thoughts of mayhem.

Krugman: It’s not just Trump that J.D. Vance has flipped on

The GOP’s vice presidential nominee has shifted position on the white working-class folks he came from.

Comment: Blaming media a poor repsonse to political violence

Conspiracy and violent rhetoric holds no specific party identification but seeks only to distract.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, speaks during a campaign event in Doral, Fla., July 9, 2024. The Biden campaign has attacked Trump’s ties to the conservative policy plan that would amass power in the executive branch, though it is not his official platform. (Scott McIntyre/The New York York Times)
Comment: Project 2025’s aim is to institutionalize Trumpism

A look at the conservative policy behind Project 2025 and the think tank that thought it up.

Vote 2024. US American presidential election 2024. Vote inscription, badge, sticker. Presidential election banner Vote 2024, poster, sign. Political election campaign symbol. Vector Illustration
Editorial: Return Wagoner and Low to 39th Disrict seats

‘Workhorse’ Republicans, both have sponsored successful solution-oriented legislation in each chamber.

A law enforcement officer surveys the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, the site of the Republican National Convention, on July 14, 2024. (Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times)
Editorial: Weekend’s violence should steel resolve in democracy

Leaders can lower the temperature of their rhetoric. We can choose elections over violence.

A graphic show the Port of Everett boundary expansion proposed in a ballot measure to voters in the Aug. 6 primary election. (Port of Everett).
Editorial: Case made to expand Port of Everett across county

The port’s humming economic engine should be unleashed to bring jobs, opportunity to all communities.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Sunday, July 21

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Forum: How much do we really know about ‘bus stop people’?

Our assumptions about people, often fall short of accuracy, yet we justify our divisions based on them.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.