Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

The War at Home

Posted February 26, 2007 4:16 p.m. EST
Updated March 8, 2007 4:43 p.m. EST

Okay, here’s the deal, I feel like a broken record, but I will say it one more time. Women are almost always killed by a husband or boyfriend, period. The statistics on this are clear and irrefutable. Yet, for some reason, as a community we continue to dismiss domestic murders as common and understandable, as “crimes of passion.”

In my eighteen years in the business I can’t tell you how many times a producer has asked me the following question over the phone: “So it’s just a domestic, there’s nothing really to it?” I know it would be sexier if the Bogeyman jumped out of the bushes, but that simply doesn’t happen with any regularity.

In the past two weeks Wake County has had its share of domestic violence. Two weeks ago a Wendell man was charged with stabbing his wife to death. In a gruesome act he and his cohorts wrote words in his dead wife’s blood. Last week a Raleigh man was charged with trying to stab his girlfriend to death. She ran from door to door searching for help in her apartment complex trailing blood up and down the sidewalks. A Good Samaritan who likely saved her life rushed her to the hospital. A fatal fire last week that claimed the life of a couple and their child may turn out to be a domestic homicide. In the latter two cases the women had protective orders which clearly spelled out the fact that they felt their lives were in danger.

What this says to me is that we as a community, and in turn we in the news media, need to pay even more attention to these murders because they are becoming more prevalent. Clearly, a restraining order alone is not enough to save these women’s lives. The problem deserves a community response. In both the Wendell murder and the Raleigh stabbing neighbors witnessed what they thought was abuse occurring between the men accused and the victims. You have to wonder, would it have made a difference if they had called the polic?. I don’t know the answer, but it’s a question that’s worth considering.

I suggest that women by nature are less violent. They are less likely to be involved in crime, less likely to sell drugs, less likely to own a gun. Therefore, they are less likely to become murder victims through any of their own actions. Instead, these women become victims in the one place that we should all feel safe- at home. Isn’t it time we made home safe again?

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.