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‘Anyone can be a victim:’ Discussing domestic violence in St. Louis after recent incidents

Maggie Menefee, Sylvia Jackson and Kristin Bulin work to assist victims of domestic violence.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Maggie Menefee, Sylvia Jackson and Kristin Bulin work to assist victims of domestic violence.

This interview was re-broadcast on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Monday (Labor Day), September 4.

Originally published April 4, 2017:

Glen Carbon. Glasgow Village. Ladue. In the past month, three highly-publicized murder-suicides took place around the region, each tied to a history of domestic violence. These incidents made headlines, but they draw attention to pervasive acts of domestic violence that take place in the St. Louis area every day, across socioeconomic and racial lines.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the prevalence of domestic violence across the region and work that is being done to assist victims and perpetrators.

“Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse — it is across all socioeconomic lines,” said Meggie Menefee, the executive director of the St. Louis-based non-profit Alternatives to Living Violent Environments. “You have the incident in Ladue: it doesn’t matter. You have the incident in Glasgow Village: it doesn’t matter. Someone felt helpless and vulnerable and did not know what to do to protect themselves.”

Also joining Menefee in the discussion were Kristin Bulin, a clinical site supervisor for Provident Inc., who works to rehabilitate perpetrators of domestic violence, as well as Sylvia Jackson, the executive director of the Women’s Safe House, which shelters women and children who are victims of abuse.

Bulin said that abusers aren’t dealing with anger management issues when they abuse their partner.

“It is more about them having ownership and power over their spouse or partner – that is unseen and can come out as an obsessive jealousy. It can be manipulative,” Bulin said.

Jackson said that last year, the Women’s Safe House shelter served 457 women and children, but due to space and funding constraints, had to turn away 1,100 women and children.

Her advice for those experiencing domestic violence? First, get to a safe space. Then, call someone, such as a safe house, and make a safety plan. That might include living in a shelter, renting an apartment, or having an extra set of car keys made, among other things.

All three organizations have crisis help lines that you can call if you or someone you are close to is in a domestic violence situation:

Provident: 314-647-4357

Women’s Safe House: 314-772-4535

ALIVE: 314-993-2777

As for what you can do to help someone in a domestic violence situation, Jackson had one piece of advice:

“The first thing you should do is believe that person,” Jackson said.

Listen to the full discussion about domestic violence here:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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