Domestic violence costs you and me – not to mention its victims – a lot. Which is why I’m so passionate and upset about the vote by Christina Olague and her cowardly peers to reinstate Ross Mirkarimi as Sheriff. My grandmother, who was one of the most special people in my life, was a survivor of domestic violence. By the time she came into my life, or I into hers, the active abuse was long past.Like a stone dropped in a pond, the ripples from domestic violence last far longer than the immediate horror of physical and emotional abuse affecting generation after generation. My grandmother died long ago, but she had a big impact on who I am and what I believe. So to stand by quietly while the city’s political progressives try to make this about anything other than domestic violence would be to dishonor not only her, but all women.
Here are some facts:
Fact: Domestic Violence harms more women than diabetes, lung cancer, or stroke.3 Each year, intimate partner violence (IPV) results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women, not to mention the long-term physical and psychological effects that domestic violence has on children. (4)
Fact: About 6% of California’s women (approximately 700,000) have been victims of domestic violence, or three times the national average. When considered over a lifetime, 31-34 percent of adult women in California reported experiencing domestic violence at some point in time.(6)
Fact: Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. The most common reasons for not reporting domestic violence to police are that victims view the incident as a personal or private matter, they fear retaliation from their abuser, and they do not believe that police will do anything about the incident [my emphasis added].(2) Skepticism regarding the quality of police response is grounded in reality. A recent study by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department concluded that there was a “clear and pervasive pattern” of departures from departmental policy. For example, in only one-third of the domestic violence calls did an officer take photographs or ask about prior abuse. And only 17% of the victims were asked about a restraining order, and 83% were provided no printed information with contact information or resources.(2)
Fact: Domestic Violence is incredibly expensive:
Fact: Even with this dramatic under-reporting, domestic violence calls constitute approximately half of all violent crime calls to police departments. For example, 49% of the violent crime calls received by the DC Metropolitan Police Department in 2000 were for domestic violence incidents.(2)
I believe Christina Olague – and her colleagues that voted for Mirkarimi – are unfit to be Supervisors in San Francisco and Ross Mirkirami is unfit to be our Sheriff because:
The city’s elected Supervisors – Christina Olague, John Avalos, David Campos and Jane Kim – voted by 4-7 that spousal abuse isn’t serious enough to be considered official misconduct even though it is against the law. That’s not justice or political courage in my book, it’s plain cowardice. Cowardice that will cost you and me and the citizens of SF $276 million this year alone. Cowardice that sends a strong message to victims of domestic abuse that their pain, suffering, and abuse don’t matter.
1) Lawrence A. Greenfeld et al. (1998). Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends. Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice. NCJ #167237. Available from National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
2) Michael Cassidy, Caroline G. Nicholl, & Carmen R. Ross (2001). Results of a Survey Conducted by the Metropolitan Police Department of Victims who Reported Violence Against Women. Available from the DC Metropolitan Police Department (202-727-5029).
4) CDC Adverse Health Conditions and Health Risk Behaviors Associated with Intimate Partner Violence – United States 2005.
5) Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look, by Miller, Cohen, and Wiersema. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.: 1996.
6) The Prevalence of Domestic Violence in California, Alicia Bugarin, California State Library, California Research Bureau (CRB), November 2002, p. 5.