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Straight from Stuckey at the Statehouse: Domestic-violence victims need laws that help them



Domestic violence permeates society.


It can be found in every nook and cranny, every crevice and crease of every state, county and city. 


It transcends race, age, gender, sexuality and socio-economic status. 


It lives behind closed doors. Its escape to the outside world can never be reached. The bruises hide behind pilled sweaters, freshly pressed suit coats, foundation and a weary, forced smile.

One in four women experience domestic violence and one in three teens will be in an abusive dating relationship. It is an epidemic. 


October was named Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But what good is a month of awareness if nothing is being done to stop it?


The problem is not necessarily that people are not aware. People are aware because it affects so many. The problem is that legislation isn’t strong enough to bring it to an end. 

A teen is in an emotionally and physically abusive dating relationship. He or she wants to get out, but because it is not a marriage, it’s harder to get a restraining order and it’s harder to press charges. The system fails to help. 


An adult is in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage. He or she wants to get out but is worried the system will fail. And if the system doesn’t fail, the abuser will get a couple of years in jail and then be back out on the streets, abusing him or her again. The system fails to help. 


So we can outline the city skyline in purple for a month, hold news conferences at the Statehouse with powerful speakers preaching about the need to end it, the Ohio General Assembly can sign a resolution recognizing it as a problem, but at the end of the day, the majority of society is not going to wonder why the buildings are lit in purple enough to stop and ask. 


There is no point to having a month of “awareness” if legislators don’t push for law changes to protect those who are abused. 


Of course more people need to get out of these situations. They are emotionally and physically scarring. They significantly alter lives. And many of these situations end in death. More than three women and one man die from a domestic violence dispute each day in this country. 


But until it is safe for these people to turn the handle on that closed door and step into the outside world, they won’t. The fear of the increased level of abuse they could be faced with if and when the system fails them is far worse. So they allow the cycle of abuse to continue.


As a nation, as a state, as a city, we need to help these people open that closed door and end the suffering, not by having a month of “awareness” but by changing laws to protect them. 


Alex Stuckey is a senior studying journalism and assistant managing editor of The Post. Send her an email at

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