Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A must-read Pulitzer prize winning report on domestic violence April 22, 2015

“IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU, nobody can.”

Then he shot her.

That story of a woman who was shot by her husband, and survived, is part of a powerful investigative report on domestic violence by the Charleston, South Carolina, The Post and Courier which Monday won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The Pulitzer Committee calls the seven-part “Till Death Do Us Part” series “riveting.”

That it is. It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about domestic violence. And we should all care. These are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends, our neighbors, our nieces, our granddaughters, who are dying and being abused (verbally/mentally/physically/emotionally) at the hands of men who supposedly love them. Men who control them. And then sometimes kill, or try to kill, them.

Whether you live in South Carolina—where the rate of men killing women ranks highest in the nation—or California or Minnesota or any place in between, you need to read this prize-winning series. Today. Now. (Click here.)

the logo

The logo for NO MORE, a national campaign for “No More Silence. No More Violence.”

The series addresses all facets of the issue. You will read stories and see images that will break your heart. You will read about survivors and grieving families. You will read about problems within “the system.”  You will read about frustrated law enforcement officers. You will read about lack of accountability and communication. You will read about warning signs and the reasons women stay in abusive relationships. You will read a list of problems and suggested solutions.

This is powerful information that will cause you to think and, hopefully, open your eyes and empower you to stand strong, to not look the other way. To care.

Here are some key bits of information that I gleaned from this series:

♥ Survivors often describe falling in love with “charming men who began abusing them well into their relationships.”

♥ Abusers are calculating and manipulative.

♥ Domestic violence is often mistaken as an “anger management problem.”

♥ Domestic violence is about control.

♥ Behavior such as choking/strangulation can predict a possible deadly outcome for those in relationships with domestic abusers.

♥ As South Carolina legislators recently debated domestic violence bills, all but one proposal died in committee. The sole surviving bill provided court-ordered protection for the pets of domestic violence victims.

♥ Domestic violence laws in South Carolina treat first-time offenders “about the same as shoplifters and litterbugs.”

♥ In dealing with domestic abuse offenders, it’s all about holding them accountable.

♥ When The Post and Courier emailed 30-plus clergy, asking whether they’d ever preached about domestic violence or heard a sermon on the topic, only four said they’d mentioned domestic violence. Most didn’t respond.

♥ Victims sometimes/often times fail to cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors because “they are terrified of their abusers.”

♥ Zero tolerance of domestic violence leads to a drop in deaths.

The series concludes with the final section titled “Enough is enough.” Problems and solutions are presented therein.

Repeat that: Enough is enough.

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IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY in an abusive relationship, seek help. Call a local women’s shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

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FYI: April 19 – 25 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week which focuses on supporting victims of crime.

Click here to read the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women 2014 Femicide Report.

I understand that men can also be the victims of domestic abuse. But the investigative report by The Post and Courier focuses on women, which is why I also focus on women in this post.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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21 Responses to “A must-read Pulitzer prize winning report on domestic violence”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Those are difficult facts to read but it is indeed a harsh reality. I had wanted to go to our own crisis intervention center to see the display of shirts but I am not sure I can squeeze that into my week now. Reading this post reminded me of how many women are silent victims who feel that they have no hope. Thanks for sharing the hard truth. Hopefully one person will be helped with this post.

  2. Reblogged this on Expectational and commented:
    This is a topic that gets far too little attention.

    • Thank you for the reblog. The topic of domestic violence has gotten more attention recently. But still, much remains for all of us to learn. And once we learn, we need to share and use that knowledge. Laws need to be changed. Victims/survivors need our love and support, as do family and friends. Offenders need to be held accountable. We all need to shout, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    The “dehumanizing” of another, to the level of a ‘possession’, and the teaching trend, began many years ago, that focused on self-worth/esteem/”I’m worth it” are just 2 of many factors contributing to this current streak of violence in the global society. The “me”/special interest driven actions of some have invaded even small towns that once were felt as secure quiet “islands” in a sea of impersonal urban tidal waves. Dare I say, as I watch recent news reports, that it is escalating at a rate that is unimaginable (by me). Kennedy’s oft quoted line “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country” is but a distant memory these days as “personal interest(s)” seem to motivate so many. I put all this forth as an observation based on realism rather than cynicism. Heavy stuff.

  4. Jackie Says:

    ZERO tolerance is a no-brainer in my mind!!! I find it so sad that that the victims are too afraid to tell, for fear of what the abuser will do. Ugh….drives me crazy! Thank you for this post that reminds me to pray for those who are in those relationships. This just shouldn’t be!!!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing – makes me stop and think. In the thick of it here with DV and the Legislative Session on. Take Care

  6. Sue Ready Says:

    Thanks for keeping the issues on the forefront on domestic abuse/violence and continuing to raise awareness with resources available to the public. Your blog posts on this subject really do a community service.
    Yeah Audrey!

  7. sue Says:

    This is one of the most important issues. Wholesale slaughter of women has gone on as long as there have been relationships. It is time to stop it.


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