Over the past few months, a startling number of domestic violence homicides have been reported throughout the state of Minnesota. These deaths have weighed heavily on many of us as we witness the pain of the families left behind and the failure of systems to keep people safe. We not only express our sorrow but also reflect on the underlying causes of domestic violence and the continued need for services like ours.
Domestic violence is a complex issue influenced by a web of factors, including power and control, learned behaviors, societal norms, and structural inequality. We know domestic violence is not solely an isolated incident, but often a result of deeper-rooted problems within our society. While people of all identities can experience domestic violence, intimate partner homicide is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women, with children, family members, bystanders, and first responders often also experiencing harm as a consequence.
For the past 30+ years, Violence Free MN has compiled an annual homicide report, to remember the victims and analyze the relationship and systemic factors that contribute to their deaths. In their most recent report, they wrote:
“At its core, relationship abuse is rooted in power, control, and oppression. People who abuse often use multiple tactics to maintain control over their partners - economic abuse, isolation, gaslighting, and physical and sexual violence. Those who abuse feel a sense of entitlement over their partner(s) and believe threats and violence are acceptable ways to maintain control....Victims do not just experience violence, power, and control within their intimate relationships. They also navigate systemic barriers and violence beyond the abuse they face in their relationships. Victims facing racial disparities, economic instability, and criminalization experience compounding traumas that need to be addressed in order to craft effective interventions that work for individuals and make a safer Minnesota.”
Each day, our staff come to work committed to advocating for all victims' safety, uplifting survivors’ voices, and educating to prevent future abuse. Let us use these heart-wrenching events as a catalyst for action, fueling our determination to build a society where every individual feels empowered to seek help and where violence has no place in our homes or relationships. Through our collective efforts, we can create an environment of safety and respect where all people can not only survive but thrive.
To learn more about Violence Free MN's research and the stories of recent victims click the button below.