CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- From mid-March to mid-May, 11 women and one male bystander were killed during domestic violence incidents in West Virginia, an official from a state advocacy program said Tuesday.
Five more men died in suicides after killing women.
In the past fiscal year, 14 licensed domestic violence services programs helped nearly 18,000 men, women and children, said Sue Julian, team coordinator for the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Julian shared those statistics at a roundtable discussion of advocates against domestic violence hosted by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Tuesday morning.
The meeting brought together services providers, members of law enforcement, clergy and domestic violence survivors to talk about ways to better combat domestic violence.
Part of curbing domestic violence incidents requires changing the cultural norms that allow sexual assault and domestic violence, said Judy King Smith, chairwoman of the state Department of Health and Human Resources Family Protection Board.
"We have not been able to change that," said Smith, who is also the executive director of the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center.
She added that changing attitudes about domestic violence is more difficult in rural areas.
When there are several generations living close together -- often on the same property -- it can be more difficult to break away from whatever tradition a family may have, Smith said.