In 2015, 20-year-old Shawn Ford, Jr. of Akron, Ohio was sentenced to death for bludgeoning his girlfriend’s parents to death after they forbade him to visit their daughter, Chelsea Schobert, in the hospital after she and Shawn had gone on a date. Chelsea had been stabbed and beaten so badly doctors didn’t expect her to survive, but she did.
Chelsea’s parents died not knowing the truth. Shawn had actually stabbed Chelsea after she refused to have sex with him. To cover for him, he made her concoct a story about being attacked and stabbed by a drug dealer after she tried to defend his honor during a dispute. Had Chelsea been honest from the outset, Shawn would have been arrested, and her parents would likely still be alive today.
The face of domestic violence
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced domestic violence during their lifetime and reported at least one impact of the violence, such as being concerned for their safety.
Data from US crime reports indicate 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner, and over half of female homicide victims in the US are killed by a current or former male partner.
Domestic violence lifetime consequences are shattering. In addition to the economic cost for medical services for the injuries, there is also lost productivity from work, criminal justice and other costs.
Even worse are the negative health impacts related to domestic violence such as heart, digestive, and nervous system conditions. Survivors may also experience mental health issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of these issues can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, binge drinking, and risky sexual behaviors.
Prevention efforts should include promoting and encouraging nonviolent relationships and communities. Other efforts include teaching safe and healthy relationship skills, engaging influential adults and peers, creating protective environments, disrupting the development pathway toward domestic violence and strengthening economic support for families.
To access pertinent domestic violence resources, click the links below, and forward this article to others who might benefit from it. Together we can make a difference.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) provides a comprehensive source of information.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) shares information, resources, and research on all aspects of sexual violence prevention and intervention.
PreventConnect is a national project of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. PreventConnect’s goal is to prevent sexual assault and relationship violence by building a community of practice to develop, implement, and evaluate prevention initiatives.
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The Future of Connection for Women