On April 28, 2013, Patricia Waschbisch was murdered in her home. In light of the shock, horror and confusion about how someone who worked in the domestic violence field could herself allegedly be a victim of domestic violence murder, we are posting a statement from Rainbow House Domestic Violence Services to our blog. We know that at times we get a picture in our heads about what a victim should be. A victim can look like anyone.
With the release of more information about the murder of our leader,
Trish Waschbisch, many are asking how a domestic violence victim
advocate could herself be a victim of domestic violence. To those questions, Rainbow House provides this response.
Part of the tragedy of domestic violence homicide is that it leaves so
many questions unanswered. As much as we would like to hear from
Trish, to know what she was going through, to better understand this
horrible act, we never will.
Therefore, to honor Trish’s memory and legacy, we should focus our
attention and the conversation about her death on what we do know.
First, domestic violence never happens because of something the victim
did or didn’t do. To imply anything to the contrary is unjust to the
victim and minimizes the responsibility of the offender.
Second, domestic violence can happen to anyone. We should never think
someone is immune. Although it is understandable, we should not be
shocked that domestic violence is perpetrated against an advocate or a
police officer or a community leader. We should not be shocked because
domestic violence is not something the victim controls.
Third, we should not be shocked that an advocate was a victim because
domestic violence is solely the choice and responsibility of the offender. What should be truly shocking is that Brent Kaempf allegedly took Trish’s life. We should never become so desensitized to the perpetration of domestic violence that we lose sight of the perpetrator’s role and sole responsibility. We should be shocked that a man who attended domestic violence victim fundraisers, who knew what domestic violence was all about because of his partner’s work, would allegedly himself commit a domestic violence homicide. It is shocking and despicable.
We believe Trish would want us to create greater awareness about
domestic violence, to break down the misconception that domestic
violence can’t happen to certain people and to refocus the conversation from what we think the victim should have done to the what the perpetrator actually did do. We ask everyone to join us in this effort.