UVa. Murder a reminder of violence in our midst

May 06, 2010

The story of Cockeysville native Yeardley Love's horrific death is a grim reminder of the presence of domestic violence that still persists in our society. Her one-time boyfriend, George Huguely, who has been charged in her death, admitted to violently shaking her and banging her head repeatedly against the wall. Mr. Huguely and his lawyers are calling the incident an "accident."

Equally disturbing was the report on the teachers' and students' responses to the death. One teacher was quoted as trying to minimize the tragedy so that the students would not experience additional stress while preparing for final exams. Activities and sports schedules were back to "normal." While life goes on, I would hope the University of Virginia and the parents of school-aged children would take this opportunity to educate the students and general public on the devastating affects of domestic violence. It is imperative that the University of Virginia sends a clear message that it is not to be tolerated or accepted. It is vital that they give a voice to the many voiceless victims of violence.

As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, one in four women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime — that is a quarter of all women. Tufts University has also reported that the No. 1 killer of African-American women between the ages of 15 and 34 is domestic violence. In addition, females between the ages of 20 and 24 are considered at the greatest risk for becoming victims. Young teens are also not immune, with a Children Now/Kaiser Permanente report indicating 40 percent of girls aged 14-17 know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by their boyfriend. Overall, it is estimated only 17 percent of all violent acts against women are actually reported to police.

It is time that we stop sweeping violent acts against women under the rug as "personal" and begin giving voices to the victims. Men and women must stand up and not tolerate these acts, they must be reported and healing and counseling should be demanded. Education on campuses is imperative, and every effort must be made to see that such an incident never happens again.

Michelle D. Breau, Sparks

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