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Statement by Vanessa Volz, Executive Director of Sojourner House, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, January 6, 2014
CONTACT: Cristina Williams at RICADV: (401) 467-9940; Cell: (917) 940-3729; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ricadv.org; Facebook.com/RICADV; Twitter @RICADV
"We are very saddened today to learn of the death of Catherine Salvi, beloved daughter, mother of a two-year-old son, family member and friend to many in her Woonsocket community. Our hearts go out to all those affected at this time with hope that they find solace in one another in the aftermath of this tragedy."
"Catherine's death is the result of a domestic violence incident that happened on December 13, 2013 and is the first domestic violence-related death of 2014 in Rhode Island. Catherine was brutally assaulted by Emmanuel Algaria, her live-in boyfriend and father of her son, according to police. She struggled to survive in the weeks after the assault but ultimately never awoke from a coma."
"This tragedy is a stark reminder that domestic violence happens in every community and that no individual or family is immune. It is especially important for community members to understand the warning signs, even if they are not obvious and even if they are not initially physical. Early warning signs of domestic abuse can include extreme jealousy, forced isolation, blaming, controlling, and condescending language or behavior."
"Some examples of an abusive partner include someone who:
• Wants to know where his/her partner is all of the time and incessantly calls, emails and texts his/her partner.
• Is excessively jealous and accuses his/her partner of having affairs.
• Insists that his/her partner stop spending time with friends and family or on other activities.
For additional red flags, visit http://nnedv.org/resources/stats/gethelp/redflagsofabuse.html [National Network to End Domestic Violence."
"It is also important to understand that domestic violence is not one physical or isolated act of violence; it consists of a multitude of controlling behaviors that can ultimately escalate into physical violence. It is vital for each of us to know the signs of abuse so that we can prevent violence from happening before it starts. Catherine's murder illustrates that, even in families with no recorded history of abuse, domestic violence can be perpetrated every day behind closed doors by abusers who seek to control their partners. Murder is often the final act of abuse. (Learn about the power and control dynamics in abusive relationships here: http://www.ricadv.org/en/resources/other-resources/132-violence-wheel)."
"We must come together and, through our actions, change what is considered normal or accepted behavior in relationships. Every Rhode Islander has a role to play in the prevention of domestic violence, and we are committed to helping others KNOW MORE to DO MORE. The lives of many of our loved ones are depending on it—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 percent of women in Rhode Island and 20 percent of men have suffered domestic abuse at some point during their lifetimes, yet only a small number have sought services."
"As we work to enhance domestic violence prevention and eradicate domestic violence in our communities, education will play a vital role in helping community members learn about the many forms of domestic abuse that exist, the warning signs, and how to help victims of domestic violence, especially those who do not seek support from agencies. As a family member, friend, colleague, or neighbor, you will usually be the first person to learn of abuse, and it is important to remember that even the smallest step can save someone's life."
"We must take action now. Catherine's murder and the countless domestic violence incidents that happen in Rhode Island and every state each and every day are part of a public health crisis. The high statewide incidence of domestic violence assaults and people seeking services show us that domestic abuse is happening in Rhode Island—but the good news is that it is preventable through community involvement. We can create communities that are free of domestic violence by knowing what to look for and instituting support systems within our network of families, friends, colleagues and neighbors. To prevent another tragedy, we all must make a commitment to say NO MORE; together we can end domestic violence."
Rhode Island Domestic Violence Resources:
"Sojourner House, located in Providence and Woonsocket, has been providing programs and services to the communities it serves for over 35 years. The agency is part of the RICADV and offers 24-hour daily support to victims of abuse, including support groups, emergency shelter, transitional housing, sexual health advocacy, emotional support, counseling, referrals to over 50 other community partners providing additional assistance, and more."
"Additionally, the RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide a wide array of services for victims, including 24-hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."
"For additional resources on how to help someone in an abusive relationship, visit www.nomoreri.org or call the statewide Helpline."