Still more work to do

Statistics have not been kind to the Silver State.

Both state and national reports indicate Nevada is one of the worst states for domestic violence by ranking at or near the top in many categories.

Every year in October, we recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the commendable job many organizations do to stop this senseless abomination and help victims. According to the Violence Policy Center, Nevada’s statistics are staggering, especially in the rate of murders committed by men against women. Nevada ranks second in the nation with a rate of 2.29 murders per 100,000 people. Sadly, for the past 13 of 14 years, our state has fallen in the top 10 of states where women are murdered by men they know.

National statistics are just as appalling. A woman is beaten every nine seconds, and 70 percent of child witnesses also become victims. Their scars of witnessing abuse may last a lifetime.

For all Nevadans and particularly for residents of Churchill and Lyon counties, domestic violence in its many forms becomes everyone’s business, and it needs to stop. No human being deserves to be on the receiving end of abuse.

According to Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office, “domestic violence generally is defined as a violent crime committed in the context of an intimate relationship. However, domestic violence is no longer just a family matter. It is a crime involving the use of power, coercion and violence to control another. This crime is recognized by state law and prosecutable by law enforcement.”

Domestic violence includes spousal abuse, which occurs between a husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend or same-sex couple; rape and/or sexual assault characterized by forced or pressured sexual acts including rape; child abuse, which can be physical, emotional and verbal assaults committed against a child; elderly abuse, which may be committed by their children, grandchildren or others living and caring for the victim; and stalking and/or cyber stalking, which is harassment and the victim is afraid of his or her safety.

The abuse gaining more attention during the past decade has been cyber stalking, characterized as “abusers discovering a victim’s Internet activities by gaining access to the victim’s email account. The stalker can read the victim’s incoming and outgoing mail and send threatening or harassing email messages.”

Fallon and Churchill County have made a concerted effort over the years to be tough on abusers who commit domestic violence, a pledge made by Sheriff Ben Trotter, Police Chief Kevin Gehman and District Attorney Art Mallory and enforced by the courts. Domestic Violence Intervention (DVI) works tirelessly in Churchill County with its network of volunteers and offers help to victims, and for the most serious cases, provides a shelter for those seeking help.

The purple ribbons seen around Fallon are subtle reminders to remind people of Domestic Violence Awareness month.

No reason exists why another individual must endure domestic or sexual violence from another, and in order to combat this violence, residents may contribute money or clothing to local shelters, volunteer time to a program that works with abused victims, talk to children about relationship violence, offer support to victims or get the word out that domestic violence is never acceptable.

For Churchill County residents needing help or wanting to stop domestic violence, call 775-423-1313. In Fernley, the hotline is 775-463-4009 or 1-800-453-4009.

LVN editorials appear on Wednesdays.


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