WASHINGTON, D.C. — 2,059 women were murdered by men in 2020, according to a new study from the Violence Policy Center. That amounts to more than five killed every day each year.
On December 7, 2021, Rachel Knowles was with her best friend, her mom, MaryAnn Breault. Rachel said her stepdad, Dimitre Dimitrov, came up to the car.
“He reached through the window,” she recalled. “He grabbed her, and he shot her in the chest four or five times… …I was just like ‘oh my God’ and looking at my mom and realizing she was, I mean, it was immediate she didn’t have a chance to make a sound… …I just held her as best as I could and talked to her and told her how much I loved her and everything.”
According to a new report from the Violence Policy Center, the murder rate for men murdering women in single victim/single offender incidents increased 24% since 2014.
Rachel is hoping the tragedies can motivate change. She wants a law that says once somebody alleges domestic violence, both the accused and the accuser should have their guns taken away until everything is sorted out.
“We know that those firearms being present is incredibly dangerous and the removal would be very valuable,” Marium Durrani, Vice President of Policy for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, explained.
Durrani told us the Hotline is experiencing the highest contact volume it has ever experienced in its history.
“When a survivor or anyone takes a step like a separation or a protective order or they leave, we have seen it as a point of potential escalation,” she said. “When a person who causes harm feels like they’re losing control, it’s often a time for escalation and of course, the survivor is doing whatever they need to do to be safe.”
Durrani thinks the fix might not be simple.
“The problem that we see is there are still many, many loopholes in those,” she said. “Unfortunately, while a federal law may be great, Implementation can look very different in states and localities. That’s not to say that a state doesn’t care or they’re not trying very hard to do that, it’s just implementation on the ground level can be really challenging.”
Both Knowles and Durrani believe change needs to happen.
“He took so much from us by taking her and he took so much from her, the life that she would have built without him,” Knowles said.
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
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