The latest shooting at a Brookfield, Wisconsin, spa has stirred up a lot of emotions for me. Not only because it happened across the street from the mall I grew up going to, but because the woman and other victims were killed as a result of domestic violence.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that in college I had an experience with domestic violence that was traumatic for me.
This Brookfield woman had been granted a restraining order from her estranged husband, but he did not surrender his firearms. In Wisconsin, current law dictates that he had to surrender his firearms, but he had to do so on the honor system. No one was going to follow up with him if he didn’t surrender them. And clearly he did not comply.
In my case, I was not even granted a restraining order because the court commissioner was looking for proof of physical abuse. According to Wisconsin law, one may petition for a restraining order based on harassment and/or physical abuse. Unlike this Brookfield woman, I was not physically abused, but I should have been granted a restraining order. The law failed both of us, and it fails other victims every day.
I cannot put into words how disheartened I am that our criminal justice system and laws do not protect victims as much as they should. I was lucky. She and many others are not. How many people have to die before legislation changes?