Press Statement by Kristin Lyons, Executive Director of the Women's Center of Rhode Island, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 26, 2013
"Though not much has yet been released about the attempted murder of Jacqueline Aquil and apparent suicide of her live-in partner and alleged batterer, we at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Women's Center of Rhode Island are concerned about the issue of domestic violence, a clear factor in this case."
"Police responding to the calls of neighbors, apparently heard arguing and gun shots at the scene. Aquil was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where she is reported to be in stable condition. Though her injuries were not life threatening, we know that in many cases where firearms are involved, victims are often killed. We are very grateful that people did not ignore the violence, were proactive, and that as a result, Aquil is safe. As this situation exemplifies, every Rhode Islander has a vital role in ending domestic violence; we commend those who called the authorities and prevented a worse tragedy."
"The high number of domestic violence deaths caused by firearms illustrates the extreme dangers that guns can bring to a home. Approximately 50 percent of the domestic violence deaths in Rhode Island since 1980 have been caused by firearms. The presence of firearms greatly increases the danger not just for domestic violence victims, but also for bystanders — of the 37 domestic violence attacks we have on record since 1980 resulting in multiple deaths, only 7 of those were not committed with guns and every death of a child in those incidents was caused by a firearm."
"In domestic violence tragedies there are often multiple casualties — children who witness, friends, family members and neighbors, as well as the suicide of the perpetrator who has committed the final act of abuse. In addition to Wednesday's attempted murder-suicide, there were the murders of Carla Bowen and Christopher Butler by John Oliveira, who also committed suicide in March of this year. All of this transpired while Bowen's two children were in the house."
"It is important to remember that domestic violence happens in every community and incidents such as this one are part of a public health crisis. To prevent another tragedy, citizens and policymakers must make a commitment to say NO MORE and help end domestic violence; together we can end it. The RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide a wide array of services for victims — including 24 hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."