Nevada ranked 2nd in the nation for men killing women
Nevada is one of the most dangerous states in America for women, according to a new report released by the Violence Policy Center.
The study titled, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2015 Homicide Data, ranks Nevada as second in the nation for the rate of women killed by men. Researchers said 97 percent of those women were murdered by a man they knew.
While the statistics may seem shocking for some, domestic violence experts in Northern Nevada aren't surprised in the slightest.
"Nevada has consistently led the nation in the homicide of current or former wives or girlfriends every year for the last 19 years." For Safe Embrace Executive Director John Etchemendy, the statistics are nothing new. "Here locally the issue is huge."
He said Safe Embrace's 15-bed women's shelter in Sparks simply can't keep up with demand. "The community systems in place can't keep up with the number of cases in our community."
Etchemendy said the shelter has been at capacity for the past three years, and last year, nearly 900 women and children had to be put on a waiting list.
Amanda Cuevas is an intern and volunteer coordinator at Safe Embrace. She said telling women they have to wait for a bed at the shelter is heartbreaking. "When I have to tell somebody, 'Okay, I'll put you on our wait list' because we don't have space in our program, because we don't have the funding, I don't have enough beds and then they start crying or they go, 'Now, what am I supposed to do?' What do you do with that?"
Safe Embrace has been raising money for the past three years to build a second safe house with 16 more beds and four more bathrooms. Etchemendy said, "the waiting list will be greatly reduced for the entire county."
Until the new safe house is completed, the domestic violence advocates at Safe Embrace can offer victims resources and counseling free-of-charge while they wait for a bed to open. Their safe house is currently the only women's shelter in Washoe County that can also house pets on site.
A local gun expert believes self-defense training could also benefit victims of domestic violence.
Jerome Hawkins is the training and compliance manager at Reno Guns & Range. He also used to be part of the misdemeanor domestic violence unit at the Reno Police Department. Hawkins said, "many times in domestic violence situations, the victim doesn't feel confident because they've been mentally beat down over a period of time, that they can stand up and take care of themselves. And it's not a stand-up and fight that person. It's a stand-up and understand that they can go to the appropriate authorities and get the help."
Experts said training or even more shelter space won't solve the issue completely. They believe the entire community can play a role in combating domestic violence by simply becoming more aware. Hawkins said, "knowledge is power."
Safe Embrace representatives said learning how to recognize the signs of domestic violence could help you save a friend or family member's life. Etchemendy said, "no one should be treated poorly in a relationship by the person who is supposed to love them most."
For more information about Safe Embrace, CLICK HERE or call (775) 322-3466.
To learn more about trainings are Reno Guns & Range, CLICK HERE.
To connect with advocates at the Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW), CLICK HERE or call (775) 329-4150.
To get involved with the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, CLICK HERE.
You can view the full report from the Violence Policy Center below: