SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Domestic violence-related homicides are a growing problem in Utah. In our state 42 percent of homicide victims are killed by their current or former intimate partner, while nationally that number is 30 percent. Domestic violence experts say something needs to change.
“We have a real problem when it comes to gender based violence,” said Jenn Oxborrow, Executive Director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
According to Oxborrow, one in three women are affected by domestic violence abuse. The number of men affected is one in eight.
“No one is immune to this,” Oxborrow said.
This year alone more than 20 deaths have been classified by the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition as domestic violence-related homicides. The latest one was Sunday in West Valley City. Police received a call from inside a home regarding “shots fired.” When they arrived, they found the bodies of Miraheta and Samir Skender. The incident is being investigated as a murder-suicide.
“It looks like the worst outcome of domestic violence,” Oxborrow told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson.
Mirza Huseinbegovic and his brother Mehmed have lived across the street from the Skender family for 15 years and want to know what went wrong.
“You never would have saw this coming,” Mirza said.
“They’re always happy. I’ve never seen them have any arguments or anything like that,” added Mehmed.
“It’s hard for us to understand — it’s hard for us to get our head around. We want to believe that somebody just lost it, right, that this just came out of the blue, that we didn’t miss any warning signs right, because it’s very hard to understand,” Oxborrow said. “It is very unusual that someone would snap and kill the person they promised to share the rest of their life with. It is usually tied almost always to an escalating situation of abuse and control.”
Although it is not always easy to immediately recognize an abusive relationship, Oxborrow says knowing some of the signs of domestic violence can help save a life.
ABUSE CAN OCCUR IN MANY FORMS:
- Reproductive coercion
To learn more about the signs and many forms of domestic abuse, visit thehotline.org.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call 1-800-897-LINK to speak with someone immediately. You can also click here to connect to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.