On the eve of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, many of us in the Utica-Rome area hardly need a reminder. At the end of September, we share the memory of women taken too soon.

I'm writing this on September 29th, on the eighth anniversary of the murder of Alexandra Kogut, the New Hartford teen murdered by her boyfriend in her dorm at SUNY Brockport. Eleven years and one day ago, Kristin Longo was murdered in her Deerfield home by her estranged husband. Two women, beloved by their friends and family - gone.

Today, I'm reading about Lizzie Garrow, a 19-year-old woman from Canastota found stabbed to death. Her husband is a 'person of interest' in the case, which is still under investigation.

We're horrified, and then that slowly turns into complacence, until the next story makes headlines.

How many more women need to be taken too soon? How many more suffer in silence?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. 

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence cites the following statistics:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls, an average of close to 15 calls every minute.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
  • 72% of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these crimes are female.

One in three women. I'm a mom. I have two daughters. So, one of us...at least. Think of the women you know, the women you love: one in three.

Whenever I think about Alex and Kristin, and read the stories of women I don't know who suffered similar fates, I wonder what could have been done to protect them.

DomesticShelters.org says there are things you can do:

1. Know the signs. DV can happen to anyone, it doesn't matter how wealthy you are or aren't, your race, your age - DV doesn't discriminate.

2. Don't ignore it. If you see something, say something. If you hear your neighbors engaged in a violent situation, call the police. It could save a life.

3. Lend an ear. Listen without judgement.

4. Check in regularly. If you think you know someone who is struggling, call or check in on them.

There is more you can do. For the full list - and please, take the time to read it - look HERE.

The YWCA Mohawk Valley is ready to help 24/7. You only need to call or text 315-797-7740, anytime. In Herkimer County, call 315-866-4120. You can even chat on an encrypted line HERE.


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