Nearly 40 people across Minnesota have lost their lives in domestic violence incidents in 2013. This is more than double the number of incidents reported in 2012.
When family is supposed to bring comfort and love, 37 people across Minnesota experienced the comfort that they were supposed to have turn into violence. That violence then resulted in their deaths.
The deaths consisted of 24 women, 6 men, and 7 friends or family members who were killed as the result of domestic violence. In 2012, there were only 18 domestic violence homicides total and only four of those were men.
These incidents were experienced in the following metro communities: St. Paul, Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, Maplewood, Brooklyn Center, Shoreview, Oakdale, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Shorewood, Mounds View, Roseville, and Burnsville. This makes 2013 the most deadly year for females in domestic violence cases since 2005. The total is the most deaths since 2001.
There are many advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies that work hard to reach out to victims to give them the help they need, but it is a struggle. What happens within the confines of the home and within the families and close relationships can be difficult to measure.
Two of this year’s domestic homicides occurred in Eden Prairie. It also had the most prominent case involving a young woman who disappeared after meeting up with her boyfriend. She was found six months after that meeting just north of Sartell.
Authorities said that no abusive behavior had been shown toward the woman by her boyfriend. Although he was not arrested, he took his life following his girlfriend’s disappearance and before police could question him.
In September, a murder-suicide claimed the lives of two Eden Prairie residents. Police records showed that they had had prior contact with the couple due to a verbal domestic issue in 2009.
The incidents themselves vary as much as the communities they occur in, as there seems to be an increase in certain socioeconomic grounds. For instance, in Edina, domestic assault occurs in this affluent community just as often as everywhere else, but it is less likely that cases are reported. The community has less multi-family housing, which means domestic violence is occurring in single-family homes where there are not others to hear it and report it.
State law says that law enforcement has to arrest someone when they are suspected of domestic abuse or if he or she is causing injury to another individual. However, domestic violence situations are precarious for the people involved and for the officers. The situation is emotionally charged and people typically do not think rationally, so they may turn to a weapon. Victims even have a history of turning on officers when their family member is being arrested. If the victim is dependent on that individual, they panic.
While many of these cases involve a man murdering a woman, domestic violence can occur in any relationship. When law enforcement is called on a case, they try to give the victim as many options and resources as possible, including an order for protection, in order to avoid a situation in which they may be murdered. It doesn’t matter the culture, the community, or the economic situation because domestic violence happens at all levels.