Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Article: Editorial: Curbing domestic violence starts with men

Speaking with large doses of heart and will, Mayor Mike Rawlings presented a clear message Monday for those who abuse their spouses or partners. Dallas will not tolerate domestic violence. The city may not wipe it out, but Rawlings has put City Hall squarely on the side of reducing such crime.
We were glad to see the mayor take a public role and with such fervor. A horrible epidemic is spreading across our city and region. For further proof, look at the days after Karen Cox Smith’s estranged husband allegedly killed her last Tuesday in a Dallas parking garage. Over the weekend, two more women were allegedly killed by family members. Their slayings were on top of the 26 domestic violence deaths in Dallas last year, which were up from 10 the year before.
Rawlings devoted his address to how paid professionals and families can rein in this epidemic and protect “every woman, every man and every child from violence.” The mayor couldn’t have been more forceful in explaining that the safety of Dallas residents is his top job, as well as that of the City Council. He also presented policies that he wants Dallas police and others to pursue.
The leading one is ensuring that the department puts a higher priority on serving warrants on people suspected of domestic abuse. Getting to abusers, and getting to them fast, is a must. The very day Smith was killed, police officials had informed her that they were about to arrest her husband for previous domestic violence. They never got to him.
Rawlings also rightly wants to reactivate a city task force devoted to domestic violence. He ticked off several goals, including improving outreach efforts so families learn more about how to deal with abusers. Obviously, a major thrust is helping victims learn about safe shelters.
Rawlings noted that these directives are for the professionals, those who get paid to deal with these problems. The most critical response, the mayor said, must come from individuals and families, starting with the men across Dallas.
Rawlings talked at length about ending the city’s culture of violence. Drill down, and that goal gets into the choices we make in the movies we watch, the video games we play and even the athletic games we love. “We need to get off the sidelines,” the mayor implored.
Men especially, right down to the banter in locker rooms and talk shows. Committing acts of violence against women cannot be acceptable. Men need to own this problem; all Dallas males must make it their business to stop the violence. Are we ready as a city? Are our men? Each of us needs to be, because the violence is winning.

More lives lost

Breauna Hill, 22, was found murdered in an apartment she and husband Ismael Vergara, 26, shared in the Red Bird area of southern Dallas. Police charged Vergara, who was found with blood on his shirt, with the slaying. Police report that Hill had been stabbed Friday in the chest, face, neck and back. Wounds also were found on her hands and wrists, indicating she tried to fight back.
Angela Lozano, 45, was found dead by her 18-year-old son in their North Richland Hills apartment early Saturday. Another son, Justin Jody Collins, 23, was later charged in the slaying of his mother, with whom he shared the Tarrant County apartment.

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