PLYMOUTH, Minn. – A St. Paul officer-involved shooting shines a light on the pain of domestic violence after three domestic violence incidents resulting in death in the Twin Cities in the past few weeks.
The Ramsey County Medical examiner 28-year-old Phumee Lee was shot by police Thursday evening in St. Paul. Police say Lee was armed and had fired shots at a woman inside the home where 5 children were reportedly present, while she was trying to call 911.
Last week, authorities charged Wyndale Fayson, 32, a Minneapolis man with murder, for setting his girlfriend, Vanessa Danielson on fire, killing her.
Prosecutors also charged 55-year-old Tony Le with second-degree murder after he told police he and his wife of 20 years had been arguing when he followed her into the bathroom and strangled her with a phone cord. Le said his wife told him she wanted a divorce.
The Home Free domestic violence program operates a battered women's shelter, and in this Domestic Violence Awareness month, Home Free is soon launching a social media campaign called #IWishYouKnew.
Beginning October 18, the online campaign will feature statements from survivors, advocates, and concerned community members about what they wish people knew about their own experience of battering or domestic violence in general. The campaign will have two calls to action: raise awareness as well as donate to support battered women and their children.
“I wish you knew domestic violence isn't always physical, it's more emotional, isolation, economic abuse, intimidating,” said Kari Hitchcock, Home Free Community Outreach Coordinator. “It’s still a very secret situation, something people don’t talk about.”
Hitchcock wishes you knew the signs in your loved ones, to pay attention to patterns. Reach out for help. Reach out to help.
“I have noticed you have bruises, what's going on? Did someone do this to you?” said Hitchcock. “I have heard women say when someone asked them, that is what they were waiting for, someone to ask them. All of the sudden that might make her realize she can get out of that situation.”
Within the last 18 months, The Domestic Abuse Project of Minneapolis has begun taking cases with infants from ages 0-3 are the witnesses of domestic abuse.
The Project’s Executive Director Sarah Clyne says behaviors are learned early and new research shows that working with children who may be witnesses is one of the best ways to future prevention.
“The impact of trauma on infants is more significant than it is for older children," Clyne says. “"We can reduce the likelihood that they become a victim or a perpetrator in adulthood if we start addressing this issue now. So that work is so critical and important."
Post what you hope others know about domestic violence on October 18, using the #IWishYouKnew hashtag, tagging @HomeFreeMN.
If you are in a relationship with someone who is abusing you, and you need immediate help, please call 911 or Home Free’s 24-hour crisis line at 763.559.4945.