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Domestic violence in Monroe County higher than state average

by Bridgette Babb - Copy Editor
Wed, Oct 10th 2018 12:25 pm

The county of Monroe, which houses areas such as Rochester and The Village of Brockport, reportedly has a domestic violence rate that is 1.6 times higher than the state rates on average.

October is globally recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Outlets such as the Willow Domestic Center in Rochester make it their duty to offer all different forms of help to those going through these assaults. According to wxxinnews.org, local officials from the county along with some representatives from Willow stood in purple to show their support of the recognition the month brings about. 

The Rochester/Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium (RMC/DVC), which is an organization that leads in a ‘community response to domestic violence,’ released its yearly report on Monday, Oct. 1. 

“During 2017, Willow Center received 5,590 calls to their emergency hotline, slightly higher than past years,” the report stated. “Monroe county rates of domestic violence are 1.6 times the statewide rate, excluding New York City. And the City of Rochester rates are three times as high.” 

President of Willow Meaghan de Chateauviex told WXXI News that there was over 4,800 cases of domestic assault in Monroe county just last year. About 54 percent of those were from the city of Rochester, whereas the other 46 percent came from the surrounding suburbs combined. She plans to dig deeper into the numbers in upcoming months to figure out what more she and the staff can do to lower these statistics. 

“Is it a resource issue, a staffing issue, is there a larger trend driving the data? Are we seeing the impact of the #MeToo movement, and are more survivors reporting?” Chateauviex questioned. “As we become more visible to our support of survivors as a community and share the information and resources available, we expect the numbers to rise as more survivors step forward.”

Jerri Lynn Sparks, advocate and survivor, used Willow’s services to get a divorce from her abusive husband. 

“We think we know what a domestic violence survivor looks like, we think we know when it’s coming,” Sparks told the station. “I personally did not see what was happening to me.”

Willow helped Sparks take her life back into her own hands, developing a safe plan and getting neighbors involved after her husband went to jail. 

Greece Chief of Police Patrick Phelan says domestic violence is an ongoing cycle and is something his first responders see often. Phelan holds on to the belief that we can change the outcome by teaching kids when they are young what a healthy relationship looks like. 

“We need to teach kids not to be abusers,” Phelan said. “This is important, and it’s something that I don’t think we’re doing effectively.”

Alongside Willow and RMC/DVC, the Women’s Resources of Monroe County offers ‘free and confidential’ services to those in need, or family members of those people. The organization does not discriminate, even using the line, “Domestic and sexual abuse know no boundaries – women, men, children, teens, LGBTQ+, young and old; anyone can be a victim of abuse, therefore anyone can be eligible to receive services at Women’s Resources.”

According to thehotline.org, on average 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. 18,000 women nationally have been killed in domestic violence disputes since 2003, according to Huffington Post.

Domestic violence is a nationwide epidemic, and resources like Willow continue to fight everyday for victims to get their lives back.