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Alarming increase: Rise in domestic violence cases prompts Michigan survivor to take action

Posted at 1:04 PM, Jul 15, 2022

(WXYZ) — A staggering number of killings are being tied to a deadly trend of domestic abuse cases on the rise.

In metro Detroit, the pain is being felt by families coping with tragedy. Experts say instances of deadly domestic violence are increasing at an alarming rate.

In Westland on May 3, prosecutors say William Grant stabbed his wife Sarah to death with scissors in a case of premeditated murder. Just days ago on July 10, prosecutors say Jonathan Welch killed his girlfriend and another man in Harper Woods just two days after posting bond.

“You’re working from home. You’re isolated,” domestic violence survivor Nicole Beverly said.

The shocking cases hit close to home for her after she made it out of an abusive relationship dating back to the 90s. Today, she says post-pandemic, more victims have fewer places to turn.

“There are not resources available, enough shelter beds and programs. Abusers are getting arrested and released within eight to 12 hours,” Beverly said.

Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence show an average of 20 people per minute are being physically abused in the U.S. In a year, that equates to more than 10 million women and men.

Even worse, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have faced severe violence including beating, burning and strangling.

“They have actually heard the murder on a 911 call,” retired Michigan State Police inspector Ellis Stafford said. “There are some people who grow to accept and tolerate that type of violence, feeling 'if I leave this person, I won’t have anything.'”

Mental health expert Dr. Gerald Shiener also described how guns make an impact, considering 72% of all murder-suicides happen with an intimate partner. Ninety-four percent of victims of murder suicide are also women.

“Just owning a firearm increases the risk of a family member dying by suicide four-fold and a family member dying by assault eight-fold. Call your doctor or pastor. Don’t try to reconcile while there’s a firearm in the home,” Shiener said.

For Beverly, a crusade to help others has led to a book providing resources and a film project about her own life. She’s also helped drive the passing of a new state law, aiding survivors in shielding personal info from abusers.

“Setting up P.O. boxes for victims and individuals who will be collecting mail for them ... so their addresses can be concealed,” Beverly said.

For those in danger, there are resources available below: