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Local nonprofit seeing trend in domestic violence homicides

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Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 14:05:13-04

TULSA, Okla.  — With two recent murder-suicides in Bixby, 2 News Oklahoma is taking a look at domestic violence in our area. The most recent on Friday night, left a woman dead outside her business after police said a person she previously had a relationship with confronted her and another man. After they argued, police said he pulled a gun and shot her before shooting himself.

Then just over a month ago, police confirmed a prominent Tulsa leader in an ongoing domestic issue was shot and killed by her husband before he turned the gun on himself at their Bixby home.

The Oklahoma Domestic Violence Review Board said so far this year there have been 17 domestic violence-related homicides.

Tulsa Police said in June and July, they responded to more than 100 domestic violence strangulations and more than 3,000 domestic-related calls.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services, or DVIS, is a non-profit that works with victims and survivors of abuse. They said they’re starting to see an alarming pattern with domestic violence homicides.

“We see the use of violence used as a source of power and control over someone. And so when you exited the relationship or ended the relationship, that need for power and control increases. And so you’ll see excessive harm and or death following a separation,” said DVIS CEO Tracey Lyall.

Lyall said during the Covid pandemic, domestic violence cases rose across the country, especially here in Oklahoma. But she said she doesn’t believe it’s all blamed on stress from the pandemic.

“We don’t think violence is caused by stress, particularly in the type of violence we’re talking about. It’s really more of an attempt to control or have power over someone. But those stressors can certainly exacerbate any violent tendencies that are there already,” said Lyall.

She said she believes the two most recent deadly domestic violence cases in Bixby were acts of desperation. And she said those acts are growing.

The Domestic Violence Review Board reported 18 domestic violence-related deaths in 2018, 20 in 2019 and 31 in 2020. And now halfway through 2022, Tulsa County is already over half that at 17. Lyall said there are things to look out for if you suspect someone is being abused.

“As things get worse in relationships, we do begin to see more and more isolation perhaps unexplained injuries, particularly a drop in the survivor’s self-esteem,” said Lyall.

If you or someone you know is in a crisis or just has questions, the DVIS line is open 24 hours a day.

Call 918.7help.me (918.743.5763) or text safe to 207-777. That line is open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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