On February 12th an off-duty sergeant walked into the M & M Lounge and Restaurant in Gresham and shot and killed his wife, two of her friends, and, ultimately, himself. To my count this was the eighth murder-suicide in Oregon and Southwest Washington since November. At the same time the headlines are filled with other stories detailing domestic abuse. Oregon football player LaMichael James was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend around her neck and throwing her to the ground in a parking lot. An Oregon assistant attorney general, Susan Gerber, was accused of punching and strangling her longtime partner. And Milwaukie detective Thomas Garrett was accused of assault in the presence of children.
Why are there so many cases of domestic violence in the news right now? Is it, in part, because of the economy? What is driving people to hurt others in this way?
Local experts stress that more people do not abuse because of a bad economy. But they do admit that people who do abuse, or who have abusive tendencies, might be more inclined to violence when they lose their job or their money gets tight. Limited financial resources can also hinder people from leaving abusive situations. Abuse, therefore, can become more lethal when times are tough.
Do you see that correlation? What’s your response to the many stories of domestic violence in the news? How does the recession affect the way you, or your family members or friends, act? Are you a person who has suffered from abuse? Or who has a history of abusing? How have you seen the economy affect your actions?
Editor’s Note: If you, or anyone you know, is a victim of domestic violence please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233).
- Lanette Fidrych: survived her mother being murdered by her father. (This was a pre-recorded interview. Here is a longer version of her story.)
- Chiquita Rollins: Domestic Violence Coordinator for Multnomah County
- Chris Huffine: Licensed psychologist and the clinical director of Allies in Change Counseling Center
- Martha Strawn Morris: Director of the new Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services (scheduled to open later this spring)