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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Woman Held At Gunpoint Shares Domestic Violence Story

Los Angeles Domestic Task Force held a press conference to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Malinda Bray never thought she would see her ex-husband again when he left her after 25 years of marriage. She noticed, however, that he started stalking her. After reuniting for dinner, the Compton woman found herself helpless on the ground as her ex-husband ambushed her.

"He pointed a shotgun point-blank at my face," said Bray, a domestic violence victim. "I could see the fire come out of the shotgun." 

Bray is one of hundreds of Angelenos who are victims of domestic violence each day. Domestic violence expert Carolann Peterson said that L.A. County receives 500 to 1,000 911 calls daily regarding domestic violence crimes.

"The abusing person controls all the money, makes all the decisions, usually isolates the victims from family and friends," said Peterson.

In Los Angeles County, there is a domestic homicide every five days, said Peterson.

October marks domestic violence awareness month, but the prominence of this issue is "overshadowed" by breast cancer awareness month, said Peterson.

To combat the lack of knowledge, the Los Angeles Domestic Task Force addressed the community at a press conference Tuesday on the prevalence of the crime.

"Even when people live in fear about testifying," said Council President Eric Garcetti, District 13, "we will make sure that the prepetrators are brought to justice."

The Los Angeles Domestic Task Force, established in June of 1994, recognized domestic violence awareness month to educate people on the extremity of the situation.

"It has ripple effects in our schools when you look at what it means to a child who has been abused who comes to a classroom unable to learn," said Garcetti. "It has effects in teen dating. It has effects everywhere."

One form of domestic violence is "extreme jealousy," as Peterson described. Young adults from 16 to 24 years old are typical victims of dating violence.

Consistent education from elementary school up until college is one way to minimize domestic violence.

"[Teachers] don't have to do this in isolation," said Peterson.  The domestic violence expert suggested that teachers partner with organizations like The Los Angeles Domestic Task Force to help plan programs for students.

"You're not just saving that one potential victim, but that you're also potentially saving all of the children that live in that home," said Robin Sax, Fox 11 News legal analyst, at the press conference.

Peterson attributes some of the problem to history, how women and children were considered property and so people think talking about domestic violence is a private matter.

"It's a topic that makes people uncomfortable," she said.

Encouraging people to talk about the matter is one way to address domestic violence.

Bray spent two weeks in the hospital learning how to walk again, after surviving the gun shot. She told her story to raise awareness for others.

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