Saturday, October 3, 2009

Domestic Violence Related Fatalities in Our Community

Orange and Seminole Counties have seen a decline in the overall number of victim fatalities since 2007, but domestic violence related suicides have grown. Seminole's 7 fatalities have already surpassed last year's total of 4, while Orange shows a significant decline (25 deaths in 2008 vs. 12 deaths YTD 2009).

What has not declined, however, is the number of suicides (10 thus far) committed by perpetrators. I would contend that when an abuser has decided to take their own life, they become incredibly lethal to those near them. After all, once you've decided you have nothing to live for, it's a (relatively) easy leap to kill anyone you believe is the cause of your unhappiness.  Or to kill one's children in an effort to keep them away from the other parent (as was the case with my daughter, Sarah). Safety planning is a crucial component to protecting yourself and your children if you are a victim of domestic/dating violence. It is also important if you are attempting to assist a friend or loved one who is a victim.

There have been 19 victims of domestic violence and child abuse in Orange and Seminole this year. It is said that a picture (or maybe a chart) is worth a thousand words. In the interest of making my point, here is a link to the stats that CourtWatch has gathered since 2007.

To help commemorate the lives lost to domestic violence in our community, and to celebrate successes achieved, the Orange County Domestic Violence Task Force will be sponsoring a Walk to "Break the Silence" at Lake Eola on Saturday, October 10th.  Registration begins at 7:30am and a brief program will precede the walk which is scheduled to commence at 9:00am. T-Shirts will be available for sale at $15 each, but you may walk for free. To reserve your T-Shirt, contact Lacy Kemp at

For a comprehensive list of Orange County DV related events this October, please visit Harbor House's calendar online. 

Additionally, Safehouse of Seminole is sponsoring Purple Light Nights to increase awareness of domestic violence.

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