Monday, December 14, 2009

Domestic Violence Deaths Rising CJonline (KS)

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.



There were 21,500 domestic violence incidents in 2008, according to Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s “Report on Domestic Violence and Rape Statistics in Kansas.”

In 2007, there were 22,429 such incidents. The highest number in the past 17 years occurred in 2000, when there were 23,236.

There were 19 adult homicides related to domestic violence in 2008 and 17 in 2007. The highest report for the past 17 years is 41 in 1993.

Domestic violence deaths rising



Created December 13, 2009 at 4:30pm

Updated December 14, 2009 at 2:37am

The slayings of Karen, Emily and Lauren Kahler and Dorothy Wight near Burlingame has brought the number of deaths in Kansas related to domestic violence this year to 32 adults and 13 children, said Sandy Barnett, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

"As of right now, with the year not being over, if we have no more (deaths), it would the third-deadliest year of the last 17," Barnett said. "We really don't know why we are having such a deadly year.

"What I would like folks to remember is that each one of those was a person, and that they knew five, 10, 15 or 20 other people. The ripple effect, with 32 adults and 13 children, is that everybody in this state has been touched."

In 2008, 19 adults and 14 children were slain in the state as a result of domestic violence, Barnett said.

In the "Report on Domestic Violence and Rape Statistics in Kansas," the Kansas Bureau of Investigation reports that one domestic violence killing occurred every 19.2 days.

In 2009, there have been 118 homicides in Kansas. Domestic violence represents 26 percent of total adult homicides this year in Kansas.

"This statistically represents one adult domestic violence-related homicide every week," said Melissa DeDonder, with KCASDV. "The 2008 report had 11 male homicide victims. Of those 11 male victims, three were murdered by their partner. What these numbers also help indicate is that bystanders are also victims in domestic violence incidences. We saw that in the Kahler case with Karen's grandmother."

The Burlingame deaths have thrust domestic violence killings into the media spotlight, but domestic and sexual violence occur all over the state every day, said Eileen Doran, program director of the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment.

"There are women who are in relationships who are sexually assaulted every day by an intimate partner, whether it's their husband, boyfriend," she said. "In fact, many domestic violence situations include sexual violence against the victim."

Sexual abuse played a part in the marriage of Karen and Kraig Kahler, said Dan Pingelton, Karen Kahler's divorce attorney in Columbia, Mo. Citing physical and sexual abuse, Karen filed for divorce in January 2009 after 23 years of marriage.

On March 16, Kraig Kahler was arrested on suspicion of third-degree domestic assault, and his wife decided to file for an order of protection. In September, he was asked to resign from his city position in Columbia, Mo.

In a written statement detailing several incidents, Kahler said she was concerned about her husband's increasingly violent behavior. Karen Kahler wrote in documents "when it came to sex it was easier to comply with his wishes, or he would become 'forceful and mean.' "

On Jan. 4, according to court documents, Kraig Kahler became violent when his wife refused to have sex with him and wouldn't stop until the couple's daughters heard her screaming and came into the room and separated their parents.

Doran said oftentimes the violence escalates when the abuser is feeling threatened.

"They are not able to gain control by only the verbal abuse," she said. "Their need to get power or get control over the person's behavior becomes greater. They feel the need to take additional steps to gain control. The threats become more serious.

"Often, a woman is at greater risk when they are about to leave or after they have left. Victims often remain in the relationship because of threats of what will happen. When something like the Kahler case does happen, you can imagine what that does to all of the women who have been threatened."

Most domestic violence offenders use some type of bodily force against their victims with the weapon of choice being hands, fists or feet. An incident of domestic violence most often occurs at home, and almost half of all victims receive physical injuries.

"In Topeka, every week, we see some pretty serious cases," Doran said. "There are women who on a weekly basis are badly beaten, stabbed. While we haven't had a murder here in a while, we certainly have seen broken bones, fractured hips. Personally, I worked in Indiana before moving here, and I had two victims that I had assisted who were murdered. One was by a soon-to-be ex-husband and the other was by a former boyfriend."

The key to reducing domestic violence is to get the communities involved, Barnett said.

"We have to figure out how to address it so much earlier," she said. "These horrible tragedies represent the tip of the iceberg. The issue really is like an iceberg. Only a little piece of it seems to be visible."

Ann Marie Bush can be reached at (785) 295-1207 or

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