FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 19, 2012
CONTACT: Cristina Williams at RICADV
Phone: (401) 467-9940; Cell: (917) 940-3729
Statement by Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
"Our hearts go out to the family, friends and community of Marcia Santiago, Gladys Cabrera, Noelia Gonzalez-Brito, and another unnamed victim in yesterday's shooting at Las Dominicanas M&M Salon in Casselberry, Florida. We hope for Ms. Santiago's full recovery. The reported gunman, Bradford Baumet, committed suicide after the shooting."
"This heinous act of domestic violence greatly dismays us and we cannot begin to imagine the fear and terror these victims experienced. While details are still unfolding, we know that Baumet was no stranger to the court system for domestic abuse. In fact, he had a lengthy domestic violence arrest record in Rhode Island and Florida, but here in RI, the charges were ultimately dismissed – leaving Baumet unaccountable for his actions."
"RICADV calls for a review of this case to uncover the ways in which the systems failed to hold perpetrator Baumet accountable – and yesterday's victims safe. In particular, this case is an example of why we, as advocates and community members, need to be concerned with the dismissal (48A) of domestic violence related charges in keeping victims and the public safe from violent offenders. In Rhode Island, according to a June 2012 report from Justice Assistance, 63 percent of domestic violence cases are dismissed each year, meaning countless abusers (like Baumet) are also not being held accountable."
"This shooting also reminds us that when battered women are killed by their partners, it often occurs after they have taken action to end the relationship or have separated from them. Women who leave their abusive partners are at a 75 percent greater risk of being killed than those who stay. On the day of the murders, Baumet was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing with Ms. Santiago, the salon's manager. Both she and the salon's owner had filed domestic violence injunctions against him."
"Unfortunately, when an abuser murders his partner, the tragedy is often portrayed as an unintentional "crime of passion" caused by the man's overwhelming love for the woman or the abuser is said to "have snapped" in response to a situation. In reality, murder is the ultimate expression of the abuser's need to control his partner's behavior and there is often a history of violent and abusive behaviors that escalates into these tragedies."
"Domestic Violence happens in every community and everyone must make the commitment to intervene and reach out to anyone whom we suspect is in an abusive situation. In order to prevent additional needless deaths, we must all make domestic violence our business and say NO MORE. The good news is there is help available. We urge all Rhode Islanders to remember that if they hear or see someone being hurt to call 911 immediately. If you are an employer or manage a business, RICADV can offer workshops and tips for protocols and procedures to follow when a domestic violence situation arises."
"There are also six domestic violence agencies in our state which provide a wide array of services including 24 hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, and assistance with the legal system. For those who need support in their own relationship or with a situation they know of, call 800-494-8100."