Domestic violence knows no boundaries. High profile cases, like the murder of Madison epidemiologist Jennifer Boyce by her husband on the day their divorce was to be finalized, and the stalking and murder of Wauwatosa police officer Jennifer Sabena by her husband, may not fit into our assumptions regarding domestic abuse, according to Shannon Barry, Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services in Madison.
“It happens to people regardless of educational background, professional status, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity,” Barry said. “It happens in heterosexual couples and in same-sex couples.”
National statistics reveal that less than one-quarter of domestic violence ever gets reported to law enforcement. And, trying to break away from an abuser can be dangerous in and of itself. “As these cases point out, victims are six times more likely to be murdered when they’re trying to separate from their batterers that at any other time,” said Barry. There are likely to be thousands of people across Wisconsin who are living in abusive situations – but are not reaching out for help.