At least 72 times in Arizona this year, someone has died because of domestic violence. Most victims and suspects knew each other intimately; the rest were family members or an innocent bystander, says the Arizona Republic. Arizona’s death toll breaks the stereotypical “husband kills wife” scenario, showing how domestic violence reaches into families, neighborhoods, the workplace, and beyond. “People don’t recognize the lethality of this,” said Doreen Nicholas of the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “We still hear these minimizing and demeaning remarks about domestic violence, like ‘that little family feud over there,’ People don’t understand the ripple effect of domestic violence.”
Some examples: A taxi driver picking up a fare got caught in between a couple arguing and was shot to death. In some cases, victims were killed in front of their children. Experts say exposure to domestic violence, much less a death, causes myriad issues for a child: difficulty learning in school, mental health problems, challenges with basic activities such as sleeping, and the tendency to turn to drugs to cope later in life. Several cases involved public places, including a park, a shopping mall garage, a motel, and a freeway. Nationally, about 2,000 to 3,000 people each year die a domestic violence-related death, says Neil Websdale of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative based at Northern Arizona University.