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Domestic abuse isn’t a political tool
A-New editor, Josh Demarest MUG.JPG
Joshua Demarest.

Monday night I spent most of my evening actively covering the murder of Amy Alexandria Gibson at the hands of her husband Jeremy. As the story has been (and is continuing to be) covered elsewhere, I won’t go back into the details of the event. If you want more info, check here and here.

In this column, I felt compelled to discuss a disturbing trend that I’ve seen from some of the citizens of this great county.

Several comments were made on our Facebook post about the incident that this sort of violence is the result of the growth seen in our county — it’s just what happens when you have all these people moving in from the city disturbing our peaceful way of life.

There are a couple of problems with that.

First, let’s address the notion that intimate partner violence (IPV) is somehow an urban issue. According to a 2015 article in the peer-reviewed journal Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, “a review of 63 studies indicates that … the rates of IPV are generally similar across rural, urban, and suburban locales, although some groups of rural women (e.g., multiracial and separated/divorced) may be at increased risk for IPV compared to similar groups of urban women, and rates of intimate partner homicide may be higher in rural locales than urban and suburban locales.”

Ultimately, domestic abuse is an issue that happens everywhere, regardless of the pace of life or number of houses per acre. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one-in-four women and one-in-nine men experience intimate partner violence, and domestic abuse hotlines across the country field roughly 20,000 calls per day.

And that brings me to my second point.

Domestic abuse is a tragic issue that shouldn’t be used as a tool in anyone’s political arguments. We aren’t discussing the millage rate. We’re not talking about congestion at 400 or how many cars are parked outside of Kroger.

A woman lost her life Monday night. Her children watched it happen. So did a firefighter, his wife, his mother-in-law, and their two small children. These are real people suffering unimaginable tragedy, not anecdotes to be pulled out of a hat to prove some point on social media.

Every day, victims of domestic abuse lose their lives. It’s an absolute dishonor to them, and to all those victims who remain silent because they fear retribution, or economic ruin, or embarrassment or a litany of other repercussions, to use them and their stories as a tool in a political argument.

Rather than bringing someone else’s tragedy and pain into your personal agenda, I can think of tons of better ways to have a positive influence on what is a very real issue here in our county and across the world.

Seek out a shelter or nonprofit that works with the victims of IPV and donate your time and/or money. I know No One Alone here in Dawson County is always accepting donations and welcomes volunteers at its fundraising events.

Become foster parents with DFCS so you can help the children that are all too often displaced by situations like these.

Raise awareness by sharing resources that could help people in abusive situations, because you’re statistically guaranteed to know at least a few and be totally unaware of it.

And most importantly, show some compassion.

If you, or anyone you know, is the victim of domestic abuse, you can always find help at NOA’s 24-hour crisis line at (706) 864-1986.