Because Jovan Belcher played professional football, he thrust domestic violence into the media spotlight and the national conversation when he murdered his girlfriend and then committed suicide on December 1.
This tragedy instantly orphaned their three-month-old daughter and shocked sports fans but, unfortunately, sounded eerily familiar to advocates for domestic violence victims.
In the last month alone, two domestic violence-related homicides in Pennsylvania also made national news. Just one day after Belcher ended two lives, a 53-year-old school teacher was shot dead while playing the organ during a church service in Coudersport. Her ex-husband is charged with her murder and threatening others in the congregation. On November 15, a three-year-old boy died when a 62-year-old man set fire to an Altoona home in the mistaken belief that his ex-girlfriend was inside.
No one is immune from the devastation of domestic violence—not a perpetrator’s coaches and teammates, a victim’s fellow church members, or a sleeping child.
It’s time to say “no more” to domestic violence. You can help by:
•Calling 911 if you see, hear, or suspect abuse.
•Contacting your congressional delegation and demanding the long-delayed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, that protects domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking victims.
•Giving the toll-free hotline number for Safe Haven of Pike County, Inc. to anyone you think may need it. Our hotline can be reached 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 570/296-HELP.
•Inviting a speaker from Safe Haven of Pike County, Inc. to visit your workplace, school, club meeting or house of worship to present an educational program on domestic violence.
Just as every domestic violence homicide affects an entire community; it will take our whole community to prevent more domestic violence.
David Bever, Executive Director
Safe Haven of Pike County, Inc.