You know how sometimes something happens and it seems so far fetched, so impossible that you swear you have to be dreaming? Or that you’re watching some wild Lifetime movie? That is how I felt on January 6, 2008, or the day my sister-in-law, Kristy Palizzi-Ragsdale, was murdered by her husband. The abuse and violence didn’t start that snowy January morning. It had started slow, but like any insidious influence it finally reached that point of no return.
Kristy was smart, vivacious, kind and honestly the most compelling human I have ever come in contact with. She had the incredible ability to befriend anyone and made you feel like you were her best friend. She had done everything right. She’d left him, they were separated and she’d filed for a divorce and had an order of protection in place. She’d done everything she was supposed to and he was supposed to have turned in his weapons. He didn’t.
Domestic violence goes unreported and mostly unnoticed far too often. It can happen to anyone. No race, age, gender, religion or tax bracket is immune.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s not just about pink ribbons. Awareness and talking about abuse can help stop it from happening. Because this abuse often happens in private, public awareness can provide victims with the hope that they’re not alone in this struggle.
It is estimated that “10 million people a year are abused by an intimate partner,” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. They also state that 1 in 3 women experience abuse in their lifetime. In a perfect world, the victim would just leave their abuser and that would be the end of the abuse. Real life, however, isn’t perfect. Often times the abuser will do everything and anything to keep their power and prevent their partner from leaving.
If you are in a relationship where violence and abuse occurs please know that you’re not alone. There are many resources available to help you.
Domestic Violence has taken a lot from my family and I. I am doing my part to remember Kristy and to help advocate for victims and you can too.