ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico made the list of states with one of the highest rates of men murdering women.
A new report puts New Mexico at number three, highlighting the problem of domestic violence in the state.
“Violence against women is just an epidemic in this state,” said Michele Fuller, executive director for S.A.F.E. House, a shelter for domestic violence victims.
She is faced with it every day.
“Until we as a local community and we as a state say, this is never acceptable, nothing changes,” Fuller said.
She said too often people ask why the woman doesn’t leave when they should be asking why the abuser is not held accountable.
People should speak up to stop and report abuse.
“If you hear it next door, call. She may not be able to. If you see it, call,” Fuller said.
When Fuller saw that a new report from the Violence Policy Center ranked New Mexico at number three in the country for its high rate at which women are murdered by men, she had a strong reaction. “I was surprised we weren’t first,” she said. “Not pleased to see where we are but really surprised that we did not have a worse record.”
The report looks at 2013 homicide numbers where a man murdered a woman.
South Carolina topped the list, and Alaska came in at number two.
The report, “When Men Murder Women,” shows there were 21 cases in New Mexico in 2013.
In all of those cases where the victim and killer’s relationship could be identified, the women knew their murderers and most of them were married or in a romantic relationship with them at one time.
“New Mexico’s a very dangerous place to live if you’re a woman. It just is,” Fuller said.
She said women are in the greatest danger when they leave an abusive relationship. “If she leaves, he has clearly lost control and that’s when women end up dead.”
That is why, she said, it’s important to use resources like S.A.F.E. House.
“When you leave, you need to go somewhere where you can be safe,” Fuller said.
People seeking help are encouraged to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.