Mother of Domestic Violence Victim Speaks Out After High-Profile Case, Offers How to Get Help
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The high-profile murder-suicide case involving a Chiefs player and his girlfriend brings back emotional memories for one mother.
It is May 2005 and a crime scene is unfolding inside a Kansas City, Missouri, apartment. Liz Donnelly said it was her daughter, Jennifer, inside fighting for her life after her estranged husband, Dominic Burton, shot her.
“He shot her three times with a shot gun and left her there dying,” Donnelly said.
Fast forward to 2012, and police tape goes up in a different neighborhood. This time Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shoots his live-in girlfriend Kasandra Perkins early Saturday morning. He then drives to the Chiefs practice facility where he took his own life.
Both incidents are domestic violence cases and reasons why Donnelly hopes to stop it.
“If we could help one woman, if we could help friends of a woman, family of a woman, if we could help somebody from going through a terrible tragedy as this is for everybody,” Donnelly said.
The Chief Development Officer of Rose Brooks, a domestic violence shelter, said domestic violence happens everyday to all kinds of people.
“Domestic violence knows unfortunately no boundaries of socioeconomics or if you’re famous or not famous, or young or old or rich or poor,” Marla Svoboda said.
So if you know someone in a domestically-violent relationship that is high-profile, Svoboda said do as you would in any situation. She said tell them you’re concerned for their safety. She also said listen and believe them if they tell you otherwise, keeping that trust if they do come around later. And, if they are victims, Svoboda said let them know it’s not their fault.
Svoboda said domestic violence can be scary to report, especially in high-profile cases. But she adds, the reality is, it is always hard to report.
“Just really bringing it down to the very basic level,” she said. “This isn’t about status, this isn’t about job, this is about the safety of you and perhaps your children.”
This is all in hopes that it won’t come to the same ending as Perkins or Donnelly’s daughter, Jennifer.
“Jenny is dead. Her murderer is in jail for life. There’s no winner in this situation. His kids, her kids don’t have a parent just as this Chiefs player who killed himself too,” Donnelly said.
Rose Brooks said there were about 6,500 calls last year in Jackson County related to domestic violence. That works out to about 15 a day.
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