According to the New York Times, Law enforcement officials have called the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs "a domestic situation" and suggested that Kelley targeted the church that his mother-in-law attended.
Take a breath, YWCA/DV friends, this wasn’t just a mass shooting it was an act of domestic violence.
Candidly, I should be writing a very search engine friendly blog post about event trends, tips or sponsorships for the Swell blog. However, with the news of another mass shooting in the U.S., I feel helpless and it brought me back to a small but BIG word - Why. Everything we do has a reason and so much of nonprofit and startup work has to always be rooted in those three letters - why. Why did we start Swell? Simple. It was to impact our community by increasing the capacity of nonprofits. This week, our WHY focus is domestic violence.
The common thread among the recent mass shooters is that they have a history of domestic violence. Nine of the top 10 worst mass shooting perpetrators had a history of domestic violence or intimate partner abuse. With the impasse over gun control, could the work to curb domestic violence and bring perpetrators to justice matter more? We think not.
Here are just a few of the headlines from the last two days following the shooting at a Sutherland Springs, TX church.
- The Perpetrators of America’s Mass Shootings Have One Thing in Common - Digg.com
- The men behind the US's deadliest mass shootings have something in common — and it's not mental illness - Business Insider
- How Are The Killings and Domestic Violence Linked - PBS
In a June 2017 New Yorker article, Rebecca Traister wrote the following, “what perpetrators of terrorist attacks turn out to often have in common more than any particular religion or ideology, are histories of domestic violence.” Traister cites Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, last summer, and Omar Mateen, the Pulse night-club shooter.
While the news may talk about mental illness, gun control and immigration reform in response to these shootings, we have an opportunity to impact this issue through thriving, knowledgeable, strong nonprofits like the YWCA. Today, their work is our WHY?
In 2016, the YWCA of Central Alabama accomplished the following in the area of domestic violence:
- provided 12,392 nights of safety for 175 adults and 178 children in two shelters and responded to 2,366 calls to the Crisis Line
- guided 5,258 victims through the courts and provided legal services to 397 survivors
- taught 2,686 students about healthy dating relationships and delivered domestic violence outreach and training to 4,028 individuals
- delivered safe visitation and exchange services to 261 men, women and children
There are, according to the YWCA USA website, 225 YWCA organizations who serve 2 million women and girls annually (535,000 of those receive a form of safety services which include court advocacy).
The YWCA provides a safe way for women to report these crimes which we know could be a crucial element in the data set that may thwart future mass killers.
Let's break the cycle for the next generation.
About this series: Wednesday Why is a blog series devoted to highlighting the work of our clients and WHY we started Swell Fundraising.