Danitza Fonseca – killed with machete

Within the past week one of the top local news stories in our area has been the trial of a man who is charged with murdering his girlfriend by hacking her to death with a machete because “she disrespected me.”

How aware are you of the levels of domestic violence in this nation? It has become a weekly, if not almost daily, occurrence that the local or national nightly news will include at least one report of a murder as the result of domestic violence. Here in central Florida we have endured being told of a young man becoming so enraged that he took his girlfriend’s baby boy into his vehicle. While driving at a high rate of speed along an interstate highway, he threw the 2-year-old out the window to his death. Or, there was the report of a young husband and father who murdered his wife and 5 children because he was severely stressed. Every area has their story.

As an author and advocate, opportunities arise regularly for me to meet others who have been victimized by molestation or domestic violence, whether as a child or an adult. I get emails from California to Germany, from east Africa to Japan and many other locations around the globe. It is quite frustrating to know you are totally empathetic with the person contacting you, but time, distance or difference in societal mores hamper your efforts to encourage, help or support them.

How many more have to die because “Daddy got mad at Mommy and shot her,” or “Mommy was stressed, then started shaking my baby sister,” and nobody was there to step up to the plate to help protect them? We all have to realize that if everyone will not be responsible, then anyone could be the next statistic—and that could be your daughter, your mother, your neighbor or your coworker. We can’t continue to just turn our heads and look the other way. There are agencies available for help, locally, nationally and around the world.

To those who are victims of domestic violence, you must know, you must realize there is an option to leave. You can get out. For so many years, and especially since the release of my book, the same question has been played over and over to me: “Why didn’t you just leave?” There are innumerable others out there who know exactly what I mean. You’d be financially devastated and could not bear to see your children on the streets, homeless. The other party threatens to take the children from you, proving you an unfit parent. You’ve had an emotional or mental breakdown in the past as the result of emotional and verbal abuse you had to endure, and when you sought counseling from a mental health worker or psychologist, that only gave the other party ammunition to assert you are a nut job and incapable of caring for your children. He said he’d kill you if you try to leave.

I promise you, there is a way out. There are networks that assist victims in just these situations. You can find numerous listings at my website on the Victim Support Page.

I’ve walked in those shoes. I know what you are going through. If I am ever in your area, please come visit me. My schedule appears on the calendar at my website. When I extend a hand to help, it’s the hand of a fellow traveler who has, through the grace of God, managed to find the path to peace, freedom and hope. Please, take my hand…

1 Located in the Tampa Bay area are: Family Justice Center Hillsborough County or The Spring or Peace River Center (Polk County).

National/international organizations are: Family Justice Center Alliance or National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or National Network to End Domestic Violence or RAINN.

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