Domestic violence is confined to no socioeconomic class. It exists in both the slums of Detroit and in the beach houses of the Hamptons. And it thrives in secrecy behind the bedrooms walls of Oconee County. 

Multiple times a month, deputies respond to a domestic violence incident but within a half-month timespan, two Watkinsville men were arrested after allegedly attempting to strangle their wives.

The first victim expressed denial, insisting that it was a stranger who punched her in the face as she screamed in terror. It’s hard to accept that the people we love and care for can be capable of heinous acts.

When Daniel Lamar Anglin was sentenced to life without parole after a jury found him guilty of murder in the shooting death of his brother-in-law, Anglin’s sister pleaded to the judge, “Daniel is and always has been a gentle soul. I beg you to have mercy on Daniel.”

A recurring theme of the trial was Anglin’s opioid addiction. Several weeks earlier, a Watkinsville man killed his wife and then himself. He had consumed a copious amount of alcohol before the crime.

The Watkinsville man who beat his wife to a pulp on Easter Sunday told deputies that he was an alcoholic and that he saw this as a wake-up call.

Substance abuse often manifests in violence. We urge those affected by addiction or domestic violence to seek out help. Project Safe, a shelter and assistance nonprofit for survivors of abuse, has a 24-hour crisis hotline at (706) 543-3331.  The National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a national helpline at 1 (800) 662-4357. There are Alcohol Anonymous meetings every day of the week in the district serving Oconee, Athens-Clarke, Barrow and Jackson counties. A schedule can be found at athensaa.org/meeting-schedule.html. Watkinsville First United Methodist Church offers both AA and NA meetings. For a list of meetings, visit betteraddictioncare.com.

These meetings may save more than the life of the addict; they may also save the life of a loved one. In 2017, 149 Georgians were killed in domestic violence-related incidents, according to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. In 74 percent of reviewed stalking cases, a temporary protective order was violated prior to the fatal incident. In 2016, 95 percent of murder-suicides involved use of a firearm. The Journal of Interpersonal Violence found that 15.5 million children witnessed domestic violence at least once in the past year. 

Advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety reports that 54 percent of mass shootings from 2009 to 2016 were perpetrated by men who had previously committed domestic violence. Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people in a Texas church last year, had been court-martialed for an assault against his wife.

“No one wants to listen when it’s time to listen,” Mildred Muhammad, the ex wife of D.C. sniper John Muhammad, told The Washington Post as she recounted his abuse and threats against her.

It’s time that we listen.

 For more on this editorial, see the April 12 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, go to oconeeenterprise.com or call (706) 769-5175.

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