It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it’s a good time to remember that domestic violence is very real and affects a lot of people. If you think domestic violence won’t affect you then this may change your mind. We hear from people all the time that are involved in abusive relationships and in those volatile relationships – you never know what might happen next. We are here to share the facts with you as well as one girl’s story of domestic violence that turned to tragedy. We also will share with you, where to get help and how to help someone that may be a victim of domestic violence.
Larsen was in her home when her violent ex-boyfriend showed up with a gun. She called 911, and the dispatchers said they heard gunshots while she was on the line with them. When police arrived at the scene, they found Larsen shot to death.
Here is Larsen’s story:
(details shared by the victim’s sister, Tracy, adapted from Tracy’s interview with blogger, Sarah Von Bargen)
Larson was 25 years old and worked at Tampa General Hospital as a NICU Nurse. She loved her work and loved that she was doing something worthwhile. As a single mother, she devoted her life to finding a cure for her autistic son, Aidric. She spent countless hours doing research, taking him to doctors and therapy. She had him on a gluten-free casein-free diet. Her dream was that Aidric would grow up to be a functioning adult. In fact, her drive to be a nurse stemmed from his autism and the hope to go into a specialized field to not only help her son but others. She was an amazing person. She was a force of nature that drew you in and drove you crazy! She was incredibly beautiful, kind, funnyshe had a contagious personality. She had a ton of friends and people just wanted her around because she could light up the room.
One day, she met a guy who owned a barber shop where she took her son to get his hair cut. He wooed her for a good 6 months before she agreed to go on a date. They were only together about 7 months and the very first time he became violent with her, she grabbed her son, left and never looked back. She filed for a protective injunction immediately after and got it. During the injunction process, his background came out. It turns out that two other women had restraining orders against him and he had a list of charges against him, including cocaine trafficking.
She had a restraining order against him and had no contact for about a month. He had been stalking her and she filed reports with the police but they couldn’t prove it was him. She was a strong, smart woman and did everything within her power to protect herself and her son.
Larsen’s murder was preplanned. He intended to run but only got one city away. He was running from the police, after the shooting when he lost control of his car and crashed it. The vehicle exploded and he burned to death.
Larsen’s sister, Tracy says the only way her and her family are getting through the pain is by lots and lots of prayer. They are a large, very close and loving family. They have all been leaning on each other and they have many close friends who have shown them love and support. Tracy says: We seem to work in cycles, so when one person loses it, someone is there to pick them up and then we switch. If it wasn’t for the strength of my family, I don’t know if I could deal with this. We try to remember how much we loved her and laughed with her and we are holding onto those memoriesI think that is the best we can do.
Here is Tracy’s advice to a friend or family member that may know someone experiencing domestic violence:
Get in their business. WAY IN. Tell them the truth, hurt their feelings, get angry with them. Be real with them. I think the situation my sister was very different than most domestic violence cases so it is hard for me to compare what she did to what others may be going through. All I know is that we knew something was off with that man and we let it slide because he was full of excuses that Larsen believed. No one ever thinks that someone they know or love will kill them, but it happens ALL THE TIME.
My family is now those people’ and as cliche’ as it is, if it can happen to us, it can happen to you. Think about a little boy who no longer has his mother, think about your sister or daughter or best friend being murdered because you wanted to supporttheir decision to stay. And please, follow your instincts. You don’t need to stay with anyone that is violent or abusive. Don’t let shame or pride keep you in a bad situation or keep you from talking to someone who is. Our hope by sharing this story is that someone will learn from our tragedy.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime
- Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence
- More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners
- In 2 out of 3 female homicide cases, females are killed by a family member or intimate partner
Here are 10 signs of domestic violence and abuse (published by safehorizon.org):
Does your partner ever…
- Accuse you of cheating and being disloyal?
- Make you feel worthless?
- Hurt you by hitting, choking or kicking you?
- Intimidate and threaten to hurt you or someone you love?
- Threaten to hurt themselves if they don’t get what they want?
- Try to control what you do and who you see?
- Isolate you?
- Pressure or force you into unwanted sex?
- Control your access to money?
- Stalk you, including calling you constantly or following you?
If any of these sound familiar and you suspect you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you are not alone. There is help for you.
You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1.800.799.7233 or CHAT with them HERE.
And here are a few ideas, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline that you can do to help end domestic violence and support survivors:
- Be non-violent and non-judgmental in your interactions with others.
- Challenge attitudes and beliefs that promote a culture of violence and victim-blaming or shaming.
- Hold the abusive person, not the victim, accountable for their abusive behaviors.
- Learn how to support a friend or loved one if they tell you they are being abused.
Larsen’s parents gave ABC Action News an exclusive interview. Watch it here:
Bargen, S. V. (2011, April 11) TRUE STORY: I LOST MY SISTER TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Retrieved from: http://www.yesandyes.org/?s=Larsen
Domestic Violence: Statistics and Facts, Safe Horizon, Retrieved October 26, 2015, from: http://www.safehorizon.org
10 Signs of Domestic Violence & Abuse, Retrieved October 26, 2015 from http://www.safehorizon.org/page/10-signs-of-domestic-violence–abuse-291.html,