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Stop Domestic Violence in Its Tracks

Katherine Clemente,
Women's Rights Project
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October 24, 2011

It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time when many of us ask: what can we do about the injustice of intimate partner abuse? More than 10 years ago, Jessica Lenahan faced just that question when the police failed to respond to her pleas for help, resulting in the deaths of her three children. Following that tragedy, she took the issue of police response to domestic violence to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that she had no constitutional right to enforcement of her restraining order, and then to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

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In August, the IACHR found the U.S. government responsible for human rights violations against Jessica and her three deceased children. The IACHR made clear that protection from domestic violence is a human right — not a private issue.

In this video, Jessica describes her landmark win at the IACHR and urges U.S. citizens to “stop domestic violence in its tracks.” Inspired by this decision, local governments are already making changes. Just last week, the Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance declaring that freedom from domestic violence is a fundamental human right and that local governments have a responsibility to continue securing this right on behalf of their citizens.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, watch this video and share it with your friends. With your support and advocacy, we can get one step closer to stopping the cycle of violence.

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