Sadly, West Virginia ranks among America's worst places for wife-bashing and spouse-killing. Domestic violence hurts not just individual families, but also taints the Mountain State's culture.
As reporter Lori Kersey outlined, West Virginia had 16 murders of wives and girlfriends in 2011 -- all by killers in relationships with the victims. It was the eighth-worst rate per 100,000 population in America.
Further, on an average day, around 150 women and children are in battered women's shelters around the state, and even more get counseling, legal advice and other support.
Pam Gillenwater of the Charleston YWCA's Resolve Family Abuse Program and Tonia Thomas of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence both lamented that observers generally hesitate to rush to the defense of brutalized women. Upon seeing an attack in progress, too many consider it a family problem and do nothing.
We think witnesses should try to help -- at least by grabbing their cell phones and dialing 911 for police aid.
Family anger and assaults are a curse. The home is supposed to be a sanctuary of affection, where everyone is safe. It's tragic when the home becomes the opposite. The phenomenon defies logic: Many raging men are so irrational that they kill themselves after murdering their "loved ones."
As we've said before, most men never would dream of hurting a woman or children. But it's a glaring fact that some do. It's shameful that West Virginia has a high incidence of this horror. Legislators, police, courts, counselors and others must keep up pressure in all possible ways to reduce the tragedy.