As women who have worked in the field of domestic violence, we'd like to call your attention to recent news articles about the shooting of his wife and stepdaughter by Stephen Walker. One article labeled this shooting as being “fueled by rum and jealousy.”
We beg to differ. Walker is an abuser.
Walker's wife is quoted as saying she “was not going to be scared of him anymore.” This — along with previous convictions for violent behavior — indicates a pattern of abuse.
While we'd like to believe that “rum and jealousy” cause unusual aberrations in behavior, most often they are part of an abuser's excuse list — the reasons he or she feels compelled to physically and/or mentally threaten, intimidate and control the life of a significant other.
We would like to urge the media to become better educated on domestic violence in an effort to educate the public rather than repeat once again the many misconceptions that minimize the abuse of an intimate partner. The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a good place to start. Most of us would like to think there's an excuse behind this sort of behavior. But in the long run it boils down to one thing over and over — the perpetrator is an abuser.
We also urge the prosecutor's office to prosecute Walker to the fullest extent of the law. Now's the time to send a clear message that domestic violence is taken seriously in Allen County.
Domestic violence is a problem being addressed by a number of organizations in this community including the YWCA and the Center for Nonviolence. But domestic violence, and its counter part child abuse, will never be eradicated until we start calling it what it is and holding abusers accountable for their behavior.
Educate yourself. Domestic violence can happen to anyone — male or female, rich or poor, gay or straight. It's one of society's shameful secrets. And it continues to happen because we're afraid to call it what it is in the media, in the courts, in our workplaces, schools and homes.
We encourage victims of domestic violence to reach out for help by calling one of these numbers:
YWCA Shelter: 447-7233 or 1-800-441-4073.
Center for Nonviolence: 456-4112.
Calls are kept confidential and help is available.
Terri Noone, Nancy McCammon-Hansen