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Our view: Can't ignore signs of abuse

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

We don’t talk about abuse.

It’s not that it’s invisible: We’ve likely all seen signs of abuse in some of the people we encounter.

Those signs often are excused away. Perhaps our sister is sore from running a marathon. Kids get bruises from playing, right? Maybe his wife did walk into a door.

It sadly often takes an impossible-to-ignore incident – like last week’s murder-suicide in Harvard – for us to pay attention.

Miguel Andrade had a history of domestic altercations with the mother of his child, Jackie Flores. Among other incidents, court records show the 19-year-old had threatened to kill Flores more than six months ago. On July 25, he murdered Flores, a 17-year-old Harvard High School senior, then killed himself.

The abuse that led to it is not uncommon: In 2012, there were 651 cases filed in McHenry County that contained domestic violence charges, down from 724 cases in 2011, according to the McHenry County Circuit Clerk. As of last week, there were 377 cases this year.

Jane Farmer, executive director of Turning Point, a McHenry County agency that shelters and assists victims of domestic violence, told the Northwest Herald last week that abuse is an “ongoing issue we have to keep speaking out about.”

Domestic violence is a repeated pattern of behaviors for the purpose of power and control, according to information on Turning Point’s website. It’s not always physical, and the main patterns of abusive behavior include aggression, anger, domination, intimidation, manipulation, punishment and control.

Turning Point is one resource available for those in abusive relationships. Staff there can be reached at 815-338-8081 or www.mchenrycountyturningpoint.org.

Calling 211 also can connect residents with local services. In an emergency, the McHenry County Crisis Line is available 24/7 at 800-892-8900; the national hotline is 800-799-7899.

But working to prevent abuse and helping those suffering from it must be a daily endeavor. It needs to be an ongoing community dialogue. It must be confronted, and the signs cannot be ignored. It shouldn’t take tragedies for us to realize that.

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