Teacher is latest high-profile domestic violence victim

A teacher at a California elementary school started the school day off like any other -- she had no idea that she'd be dead by the middle of the day, murdered by the husband she was considering divorcing.

She'd already separated from him physically, although she'd never taken out any restraining orders against him. Nor had she indicated he'd threatened to kill her -- just that his behavior was odd and that she was concerned about some vague threats that he'd made, although she attributed them to a cry for attention.

However, experts say that any threat from a spouse or romantic partner should be taken seriously, especially if it comes right when the woman is choosing to leave the relationship. Women run a much higher risk of dying at the hands of their romantic partners the moment that they say they are leaving -- nationally, the issue is an epidemic one.

Every day, almost three women lose their lives at the hands of their so-called romantic partners. Although domestic abuse and violence can affect anyone, including men, women are still more likely to be victimized than men and black women are at an even greater risk of harm. Almost half of the women killed by their boyfriends, lovers and husbands are African-American. They're victimized 35 percent more often than Caucasian women in similar situations.

But there's even worse news for victims of domestic violence: In some areas, being a victim also gets you painted as the troublemaker. The courts often focus on the abuser and order him or her into counseling, but the victim is left to fend for herself or himself. Some municipalities have actually punished victims by filing nuisance citations and evicting them for calling for help too often. In one instance, a Catholic school teacher was fired because her ex-husband chose to violate a restraining order and come to her place of work to harass her.

Women who are the victims of domestic violence or who fear that they are about to be, simply because they are leaving a relationship, should consider hiring an attorney to help them obtain a permanent protective order quickly -- before something tragic takes place. An attorney can also advocate for you to keep you from being depicted as the troublemaker in the situation, which can protect your job and housing as well.

Source: NBC News, "Domestic Violence: Nearly Three U.S. Women Killed Every Day by Intimate Partners," Mary Emily O'Hara, April 11, 2017

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