The end of the year naturally provides an opportunity to look back on key moments to see what we can learn. The year 2020 has been filled with cautionary tales, especially concerning incidents of domestic violence, which have been on the rise in the midst of the pandemic. Let’s continue reviewing some of the most notable news stories of domestic violence to discover what lessons we can learn.
More Deaths from Domestic Violence than from COVID-19
As a key example of how “safer-at-home” orders can backfire for high-risk households…ProRepublica reports that in parts of rural Alaska, more people have died from acts of domestic violence in recent months than from COVID-19.
Western Alaska is home to a number of highly rural villages, many having no access to a domestic violence shelter, and a few with no police presence whatsoever. While this region has been largely spared the brunt of COVID-19, travel restrictions have unfortunately made these communities even more isolated. As a result, the summer has seen more than its share of fatalities due to domestic violence, including deaths by stabbing and beating—and one instance where two men allegedly stabbed each other to death in a “domestic dispute.” In this region with a combined population of 1800 people, five people were murdered within one 10-day period alone. By comparison, Anchorage, Alaska, home to nearly 300,000, had logged only six murders as of September 2020.
Main takeaway: Stay-at-home orders can indeed prevent the spread of a deadly virus, but in households at high risk for domestic, they can also be a death trap. More resources need to be made available for families at risk—both for survivors and for those who are prone to violence.
Not Just Dangerous for the Victim…
A few days before Thanksgiving, police in Clearfield, Utah, responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment community, according to local media. When they arrived, they discovered a 22-year-old man with stab wounds to his hands and a 21-year-old woman with a significant stab wound to the neck. The investigation was still ongoing at the time of this writing, and no arrests had been made—but preliminary reports suggests that the woman had stabbed the man with a knife before inflicting a wound on herself. The man was treated at the site; the woman was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Main takeaway: Domestic violence often occurs in a larger context of mental illness or self-harm—stemming from the same source as murder and suicide, as it were. Those who are prone to be violent toward a partner may also be prone to become violent toward themselves. Domestic violence is not safe for anyone involved, which is why more preventative efforts are needed.
An Altercation Turned Deadly
According to neighbors and acquaintances, Randall Goppy, 41, of Queens, NY, had been an active part of his community and friendly with the police. Indeed, he had himself been employed as a peace officer at City University of New York (CUNY). But his relationship with his wife had turned volatile, and escalating tensions and a very bad decision ultimately cost Goppy his life.
According to a local New York news source, Goppy’s wife had shown up in person at the precinct police station to report her husband for an incident of domestic violence—not the first time it had allegedly happened. Two officers accompanied the woman back to her home so she could collect some belongings and leave. While she was doing so, Goppy allegedly arrived with a gun and opened fire, inflicting injuries to both officers. The police returned fire, killing him.
Main takeaway: This story is a tragic example of what can happen with a domestic dispute gets out of hand—and it happens more often than people might think. A simple disagreement left unchecked can easily turn physical, and unmitigated emotions can provoke dangerous behavior that can indeed turn deadly—even for the person inflicting the violence. To repeat the statement from the previous story—domestic violence is not safe for anyone.
Escalating tensions with a spouse, partner, or family member can sometimes result in serious consequences that can cause physical and emotional harm—not to mention causing permanent damage to family units. If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence, you need the help of an experienced attorney to help you settle the legal piece while you work on the underlying causes to hopefully prevent it from happening again. Call our office today for a free case evaluation.