This is why LACASA’s annual candlelight vigil tomorrow in downtown Howell is so important: We need just look west toward Topeka, where authorities are looking to decriminalize domestic violence to save money.
Posts have been cropping up everywhere on the web. (Just search “Topeka domestic violence” to get a long list of material to read.) The Topeka City Council will be voting on the matter on Tuesday — the same day people take to the street in Livingston County to remember the victims of domestic violence.
The idea of decriminalizing domestic violence comes as Kansas’ Shawnee County government and its cities fight over who pays to prosecute criminals.
Some in Topeka think a great way to conserve tax dollars is to quit prosecuting people who beat the crap out of their partners. They think the move to decriminalize the act of domestic violence will save a lot of money.
The Shawnee County government has already offloaded at least 30 domestic violence cases onto city governments.
Think it can’t happen here?
I don’t know what the domestic violence numbers were in Kansas last year, but I can tell you that in Michigan, where there were 89 domestic violence-related homicides and more than 101,000 assaults. And crimes of domestic violence are horribly under-reported.
As a caring community, the prosecution of domestic violence has to remain a priority. When local governments are being forced to look for cost savings under every stone, we need to ensure that the most vulnerable among us remain safe in their homes.
That’s why LACASA’s vigil matters.
You might think that things like that don’t affect Livingston County much, but you’re wrong.
I remember a particularly awful summer a few years ago in which three Livingston County women were killed by their partners. Three local families with young children struggle today without their mothers because of domestic violence.
It matters. A lot.
I’ll be at the vigil tomorrow night, standing up for victims and survivors everywhere, and I’ll be saying a prayer for those in Topeka.
DETAILS: The vigil begins at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Howell Carnegie District Library on Grand River Avenue in downtown Howell. The procession heads east along Grand River to the Livingston County Courthouse amphitheater, and the vigil begins at 7 p.m. Speakers include a survivor of domestic violence, Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse, the Rev. Dion Johnson of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton, and LACASA Executive Director Bobette Schrandt. The Howell High School a Capella choir will also be on hand.