Safe + Sound Blog

When Temperatures Rise

This is only my second blog relating to domestic abuse; and while it will be brief, it’s taken me two days and many reeling thoughts to sit and write it. As I sit here now, in my office at 8pm on a Friday night, with a knot in my stomach, my phone buzzes with a message from my father that reads, “And now one happens in Georgia.” I knew he was referring to another murder.

This particular wave of murder began when two black men were shot and killed by police – one on Tuesday and another on Wednesday. Next, a lone gunman kills five police officers. No one knows when this wave will stop. Fear, anger, shock, sadness and frustration are taking their toll on all of us – regardless of race, sex, color, sexuality, religion…

A police officer says he’s painted unfairly with a broad brush and now fears that he’s targeted because of his badge. Black men ask whites to imagine being pulled over by a police officer and fearing for your life. And for many in our country, those fears are felt every day, in their own homes (and more so in the summer months). This group is not afraid of strangers; they fear that today may be the day that their intimate partners kill them.

A few years ago, this may have sounded dramatic to me. That was before I learned that three women are murdered every day in the United States by an intimate partner or former intimate partner.

Is there any correlation in the incidence of violence (domestic or other)? There is a sharp increase in violent incidents and murders during July and August in the US. Why?

  • Studies show that heat is a culprit. In fact, there are numerous articles that show the correlation between the rise in ice cream sales and the rise in violence.
  • More people gather outdoors during the summer, creating more opportunities for violence.
  • School is out and children increase the tensions in an abusive household.

From Orlando to Dallas to Baton Rouge, it’s been a murderous start to summer in the US. Whether domestic violence related, racially motivated, a mass shooting or random, there are far too many murders. In 2013, more than twelve thousand men, women and children were murdered in the US.

What are we doing about it as a society? We argue about it. We look for someone or something to blame. We hear empty promises. We are longing for a leader who will unite us, help us talk to each other, bring together people who can put politics aside and work on solutions to a very complicated problem. We can’t afford dividers. The cost of human life is too great.