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By Ann Liguori
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It would be easier not to comment on the tragic ending of Jovan Belcher. Who wants to think about such a shocking, sickening turn of events involving the Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker? He was once a West Babylon hero, a young man who seemingly had everything he’d ever dreamed of — an NFL career, money and fame.
Perhaps no one will ever know how or why it all went south so quickly, resulting in Belcher murdering his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins during a domestic dispute in his Missouri home, and then shooting himself in front of team officials at Arrowhead Stadium, leaving behind a 3-month-old daughter.
It’s tragic on so many levels. But instead of crying for a professional athlete who had everything going for him — who achieved what so many young athletes can only dream about — more attention needs to be focused on the epidemic of domestic violence in our society.
Where are all the stories about the young mother who Belcher murdered? Where is the outrage over Belcher murdering his girlfriend?
It’s a difficult subject to discuss during the holidays, or any time of the year.
But we can’t ignore these statistics on domestic violence:
- Every nine seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
- Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
- Nearly one in five teenage girls who have been in a relationship said that a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
- Every day in the U.S., more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- 92 percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the U.S. alone — the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters or the police for help.
- The costs of intimate partner violence in the U.S. alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and healthcare services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
- Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
New York Times columnist Harvey Araton wrote a feature recently on the determination of Kathy Redmond, who founded the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes.
In the piece, Araton quoted New York Times columnist Robert Lipsyte, who in an earlier piece on Redmond wrote, “She still often appears to be a one-woman crusade, armed with audacity and a smartphone, waging battle against an athletic culture of invulnerability that has become increasingly explosive in the college and professional sports industries.”
Redmond works tirelessly with women who are victims of violent attacks by athletes, women who can’t get the school, the team, the coach or anyone to do anything!
More attention needs to be focused on this issue — starting with young athletes — to educate and end their sense of invincibility, entitlement and madness which can lead to all forms of domestic violence, including murder.
Do you feel that not enough attention has been given to Belcher’s girlfriend and their 3-month-old daughter? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…