Domestic Violence Incidents Dangerously Common
How to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence.
Chances are high that you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence. It’s a subject that isn’t spoken of often, especially in affluent communities like Barrington, but the problem exists and is very real.
Last month, Joseph and Julianne Damato of Barrington Hills were found dead in their home. Police say Joseph Damato shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. It’s unclear if the couple had a history of domestic violence. Barrington Hills police have denied our Freedom of Information Act request to view the police report of the May 9 incident. We do know that this was the first time police were called to the home.
Abuse Kept Secret
Domestic violence often is kept quiet among family and friends, and victims don’t always get the help they need. Barrington Youth and Family Services Director Rochelle Shulman said some victims don’t even realize that what they are experiencing is domestic violence.
“It’s more common than most people would think,” Shulman said. “Sometimes you can’t even identify it. It’s just undermining someone and putting them in a bad light and just putting them down all the time. A lot of people don’t even recognize that that is a form of domestic violence.”
Continued verbal, emotional, sexual or physical violence can lead to a lack of self-esteem that affects the entire family. Victims can be embarrassed to tell someone what they are experiencing, and continually deal with abuse with no end in sight.
“It’s very embarrassing. They don’t want to admit it. A lot of times they just don’t recognize it,” said Shulman.
“It only happened once.”
A common trend among domestic violence victims is thinking their abuser won’t harm them again. Typically, if you are abused once, it will continue to happen again.
“It seems to me that from my experience the isolated incidences that exist are rare,” said McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Windon.
“If someone hits you once and then they’re apologetic about it, you can’t really trust that it will not happen again. Most often it does,” Shulman added.
Although Windon doesn’t directly work in the domestic violence unit, he has seen a number of cases during his tenure as a prosecutor. His best advice to those in a violent relationship is to reach out for help as soon as possible.
“People need to call the police they need to find somebody to talk to,” he said. “There are domestic violence shelters in place to help people. Victims just need to find someone they can talk to.”
Domestic Violence Resources:
- Barrington Youth and Family Services is a nonprofit organization providing free counseling, outreach and prevention programs to anyone within District 220 needing mental health assistance. No one is turned away due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.
- Community Crisis Center, Elgin. Employees provide comprehensive services to individuals and families in crisis due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or economic/financial difficulties. The Crisis Center is one of the oldest domestic violence shelters in the state and was instrumental in organizing both the Illinois and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Crisis line: 1-847-697-2380.
- WINGS of Palatine. WINGS helps homeless and abused women and children by offering integrated services that meet their needs for shelter, education, guidance and support. Housing and Emergency Shelter Hotline: 847-221-5680