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With your help, we've made great strides in the movement to end domestic violence in Rhode Island. We now invite you to stand with us, our task force of domestic violence survivors (SOAR - Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), and six member agencies (Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, Women's Center of RI, Women's Resource Center) on March 11 as we let local leaders KNOW that we must all come together to prevent domestic violence.
Future generations need us to do the work involved in creating healthy communities that are free of violence. Our children have a right to a peaceful world where the threat of domestic violence no longer exists. Building this future is our responsibility and can be our legacy.
So please join us as we propel our movement forward on this special day. Let our collective presence send the message that the statewide domestic violence community is strong and committed to this issue. NO MORE. Together we can prevent and end domestic violence.
Visit our policy center for more information about NO MORE Day and prevention efforts in Rhode Island.
Register here if you're planning to attend! Sign up for legislative action text alerts to stay in the KNOW about our activities this legislative season. Simply text the word prevent to 51555 to receive text message updates from the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (By subscribing, you agree to the terms and conditions for messaging and mobile giving.Text help for technical support or stop to unsubscribe to 51555. Standard message and data rates may apply.)
The RI General Assembly is currently considering legislation that would make strangulation a felony domestic assault. In fact 30 other states have already passed this type of law.
If your partner strangles you they are telling you that they hold your life in their hands and have the power to end it. And if you call the police right now in Rhode Island, your abuser will be charged with simple assault, which is a misdemeanor.
For a deadly act of abuse. Not only is strangulation deadly (it only takes a few seconds to strangle someone to death), but someone who has been strangled or choked by their partner is almost 10 times more likely to be murdered by that partner than someone who has not. In addition, injuries sustained from strangulation assaults can cause such effects as neurological damage sustained from the lack of oxygen to the brain. Strangulation assaults can also lead to miscarriage. So, in Rhode Island, we charge an abuser who has strangled his or her partner with simple assault misdemeanor.
It would take your abuser three times to do that to you, get arrested and then convicted before he or she is actually charged with a felony.
But wait a second. Recently, Justice Assistance released a report that showed that half or more of all misdemeanor domestic assault cases were dismissed last year. This is an alarming upward trend in dismissals of domestic violence misdemeanors in Rhode Island's District Courts. In some towns, Justice Assistance found dismissal rates as high as 80%!
So, with that new lens, if your abuser strangles you, what do you do? If you call the police, he or she might be charged with a misdemeanor simple assault, which is more likely than not to be dismissed by the court.
So, remind me, why would you call the police in Rhode Island?
This is a shameful gap of accountability in Rhode Island. I'm sure that no state decision maker wants to allow domestic violence to continue. Especially since murder is the ultimate expression of domestic violence.
But if Rhode Island's legal system is serious about stopping domestic violence homicides, then it must start with stopping domestic violence by holding abusers accountable.
First, we need to drastically cut the rate of dismissals for domestic assault misdemeanors in Rhode Island. It is simply outrages that we are giving abusers "a free pass" in the words of Scott MacKay.
Second, we need to pass a law that makes strangulation in domestic relationships a felony assault.
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