Despite tougher laws, wider awareness and better resources from advocacy groups and elsewhere, domestic violence, unfortunately, remains a significant problem in 2009.
McHenry native Amber Cremeens sadly became one of its latest victims.
Cremeens was shot and killed in a Denver suburb last week by her former boyfriend, Tyler James Martin, 36, formerly of Wonder Lake. Martin and Cremeens had been in an eight-year relationship that ended in mid-2008.
After their breakup, Martin, who had a history of domestic violence, began stalking Cremeens. On Feb. 17, Martin followed Cremeens in her car. He ran her off the road, got out of his own car, and shot her where she sat in the driver’s seat of her vehicle. Martin fled back to Illinois and shot himself to death Friday after a brief standoff with Chicago police.
Cremeens’ frantic final minutes are recorded on a 911 call that her boyfriend made to Colorado authorities as Cremeens was on a second line. The recording is sobering in its horrific reality.
This case shows that domestic abusers will go to almost any length to assert their control over their partners – current or former.
Illinois and other states have made improvements to domestic violence laws in recent years. A law that allows a court to order anyone who violates an order of protection to wear a Global Positioning System bracelet so law enforcement can track their movements recently went into effect. And the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the use of a federal law barring people convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning guns, according to The Associated Press.
Sadly, no law will bring Cremeens back to her loved ones. And no law, no matter how well-written or how tough, will eliminate domestic violence.
Education and awareness need to continue to be a staple in the fight against domestic abusers.