News

Breaking the cycle of Domestic Violence

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/3/2014 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- Every nine seconds a woman is battered or beaten in the United States by her husband, partner or boyfriend. Every nine seconds.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in an effort to promote awareness the 366th Fighter Wing hosted an event Oct 2.

 

Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue is the founder and chairman of the Man Up Crusade. Along with his wife Jeanie and partners from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Donahue's work to assist victims of domestic violence by providing necessary support and resources.

The mission of the Man Up Crusade is to reduce domestic violence in society and contribute to social change by promoting safe and healthy relationships through education, advocacy and funding community services and programs.

"For me this is a calling, I feel it's important to give something back," said Donahue. "During my time as a law enforcement and undercover officer many of the worst situations I encountered were domestic violence related."

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence one in four women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetime. On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

"Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police," said Donahue. "However, the case that made me decide to start the Man Up Crusade involved a woman whose husband beat her relentlessly over four hours. He was ruthless is his savagery, dragging her from room-to-room throughout their home in order to have a new place to punch and kick her. Once he passed out she was able to escape and get help from a neighbor."

In 70 to 80 percent of reported intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

"He was covered in her blood when we confronted him," Donahue continued. "He lied to us stating he was butchering animals. However, we had her statement and a mountain of evidence and proof against him. Now he'll spend the rest of his life in jail for what he did."

Victims of this violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work which is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity. There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries annually. 

"Even 10-years later, she's still a victim," said Donahue. "They're not afforded the luxury of shutting off what happened to them. They live with it every single day, they're victims forever."

Donahue and his wife became involved with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to start this crusade. Donahue has a long history of personal involvement with the PRCA and felt the ideology fit perfectly.

"Cowboys stand up for what's right, no matter who's watching," he explained. "We get the job done and lead with courage and integrity. It's important to get awareness out about this to the American people. They need to know this completely preventable issue is out of control.

Donahue explained the need to educate individuals about domestic violence and begin to break the cycle.

"We need to ensure the children, from elementary school to college, understand violence between parents isn't normal or right," he said. "Last, victims who need assistance should know we have the resources to help."

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen between couples who are married, live together or date. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and all education levels.

"The way I look at it is simple; you're either for domestic violence or you're against it," Donahue said. "There's no in-between. There's no sitting this issue out. People must get involved and help put a stop to this. It's time we as Americans say, enough is enough."

For more information contact the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence website at http://www.nnedv.org/.