The Idaho Summit on Domestic Violence 

The names are familiar: Angie Leon. Kathleen Ciccone. Sarah Parks. They shared a similar fate: murdered at the hands of their abusers.

Leon, Ciccone and Parks are just three of the tens of thousands of Idaho women who suffered from domestic violence in recent years. The Idaho State Police reported 6,177 cases of domestic violence in 2009.

"What hit me was just the statistics, what a huge problem it is--how 87 percent of domestic violence in this country is witnessed by children," said Susan Davis, an attorney who attended the Oct. 20 Idaho Summit on Domestic Violence. "It's not just seeing the domestic violence that hurts children. But it's that they're immersed, bathed in this culture."

Jacquelyn Campbell, a nursing professor at Johns Hopkins University and speaker at this year's conference said, "Domestic violence equates a war against women."

The number of U.S. women injured by domestic violence far outpaces the number of Americans wounded in battle. Campbell reminded the gathering that in Idaho, one domestic violence incident happens every 85 minutes and femicide by a domestic partner is the seventh leading cause of death for U.S. women.

The Oct. 20 summit brought together professionals in law enforcement, medicine, law, social work and education to develop strategies for the prevention of domestic violence.

"It's harder to say how domestic violence isn't connected to public health," said Linda Chamberlain of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project. "It's just critical that we work together as a team and move toward prevention as a community."

Attendees learned that victims often don't seek help. Many are stalked before they are killed, and strangulation victims don't always die immediately following an attack. Some linger for weeks, suffering from what may look like vague symptoms to the untrained eye. Emergency medical personnel learned to look for the chin scrapes, hemorrhaging and the red eyes that often accompany a strangulation attack.

Speaker Larry Cohen made the link between domestic violence and culture. As executive director of the Prevention Institute in Oakland, Calif., Cohen led campaigns to turn prevention efforts such as the use of child safety seats into law.

"Norms are behavior shapers. And a focus on norms can help prevent violence against women and children," Cohen said.

Sen. Mike Crapo's conference address vowed his support for offender-funded legislation aimed at supporting victims of violence. He also called on men to use their voice to prevent abuse.

"Men need to speak out more," Crapo said. "We need to not tolerate the ...inappropriate, degrading talk that leads to conduct that is inappropriate. We need to not tolerate the jokes. And men need to be telling other men, that kind of talk, that kind of activity and that kind of conduct is inappropriate. And make sure that they know that we, as a society, not only will not tolerate it, but we will prosecute it when it occurs."

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