“Some argue that I was too young to remember but I can see it like it was yesterday.” Somerville Police Officer Geoffrey DePriest was a small child when he first saw his mother being severely beaten by his father.
“It’s important to learn about the power and control dynamics of domestic violence … Like so many, I used to ask ‘why does she stay?'”
– Geoffrey DePriest, Somerville Police Officer
This childhood experience drives his commitment to end domestic violence by partnering with Fayette Cares. As a Training Officer he facilitates the Lethality Assessment Program classes, teaching colleagues to identify the level of danger for domestic violence victims and initiate a protocol that connects them to Fayette Cares for safety and services.
“It’s important to learn about the power and control dynamics of domestic violence,” says Officer DePriest. He shares that it can be confusing and frustrating when victims return to an abusive partner. “Like so many, I used to ask ‘why does she stay?’”
Officer DePriest explains that the end of the relationship doesn’t mean the end of the abuse, in fact it may increase the danger. Studies show an estimated 75% of domestic violence homicide victims were killed by batterers when they attempted to leave or after they left the abusive relationship.
Physical danger for themselves and their children is one of many complex issues faced by victims. Economic dependency, fear that the children will face emotional damage and manipulation, isolation and a loss of support from family or friends, conflict with cultural or religious beliefs, as well as physical and emotional fatigue caused by repeated trauma, are among the difficulties victims confront when deciding to stay or leave.
Although most victims leave eventually, it may take months or years, with many starts and stops. Officer DePriest and the Somerville Police Department are committed to working with Fayette Cares to help victims through this difficult process and ultimately breaking the cycle of violence.
If you or someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, contact Fayette Cares for help. Click for information or call 901.465.3802 or 24hr. Hotline 800.356.6767