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updated: 11/5/2012 12:13 PM

Milwaukee tragedy exposes vulnerability

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An armed man walked into a Milwaukee salon and killed three women and wounded four others before taking his own life. The suspect's wife was an employee at the spa and had recently received a restraining order against her husband. She was one of the victims.

The shooting took place in a mall, where families were enjoying a day of shopping. The proximity of devastating violence in the heart of a community can leave everyone feeling shocked and vulnerable. Several media noted this occurred in a "middle-to-upper class community," as if domestic violence is an anomaly in higher income areas.

As a social service agency serving victims of domestic violence in DuPage County, we know that no neighborhood is immune to this devastating issue. We serve nearly 2,000 women and children each year, and sadly, we know this is just the "tip of the iceberg."

There are many who are too fearful to seek help and who may try to hide the violence from their family, friends and colleagues. However, our experience shows that domestic violence is not easily contained behind closed doors. Over time, the violence may escalate, impacting public spaces, such as places of work and leisure, threatening everyone in its path. It is imperative that we take a communitywide stand against domestic violence and know how to connect victims to comprehensive and effective programs.

The loss of innocent lives compels us to grieve and reflect; it is a tragic reminder that we cannot stop being vigilant against violence in our neighborhoods. At Family Shelter, we urge anyone facing domestic violence to call our 24-hour hotline number: (630) 469-5650. Our hotline, emergency shelter and court advocacy programs act as lifelines for families in immediate crisis. We are committed to keeping those lifelines open. The tragedy in Milwaukee reminds us just how much is at stake.

Karen Hurley Kuchar

Executive Director

Family Shelter Service

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