Ms. Cassie Whitaker didn’t take it seriously when her boyfriend consistently kept tabs on where she was going and who she talks to on the phone.
She jokes when she and her boyfriend got into a fight. Her mom warned her that the man was dangerous. But the 23-year-old didn’t listen and has become part of growing statistic.
On Wednesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released some startling figures about domestic violence nationwide: 1 in 4 women surveyed by the government say they were violently attacked by their husbands or boyfriends; and almost 70 percent of female victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
The 23-year-old Whitaker didn’t live to see her 24th birthday. On Nov. 15, police said her boyfriend Mr. George Crawford shot her and dumped her at the hospital before taking off.
“He just got out of the car and tried to talk to her,” Ms. Whitaker’s mom, Ms. D. Whitaker said. “She didn’t want to hear it and he shot her in the back.”
Atlanta police investigators said a man wearing a Buckhead Towing uniform dropped Ms. Whitaker off at Grady Memorial Hospital and left in a dark colored SUV prior to police arrival.
Investigators tracked Mr. Crawford down through the company and he led them to the crime scene near 838 Brookline St., according to a police report.
A nearby home captured the shooting on a video surveillance camera and police said the 46-year-old confessed to the shooting.
Ms. Whitaker knew her daughter and her boyfriend often argued, but didn’t know how often their arguments turned physical. Then she found out about one of their fights.
“Chrissie thought it was funny. ‘Mommy I can take him,’ she said.”But Ms. Whitaker told her the next time they argue to calm down and go for a walk.
“She did and that was the last walk of her life,” Ms. Whitaker said.
Mr. Crawford would always keep tabs on where she was going and how long she was gone, Ms. Whitaker said. He would take her to work with him at nights at his towing company and always wanted to drive her wherever she needs to go.
When she visited her mom, her cell phone would ring all the time.
“I took it and turned it off,” Ms. Whitaker said. She tried to warn her daughter, “This one is dangerous. He had to drive you and come back and pick you up.”
But her daughter didn’t listen.
“These people think this jealousy crap is cute,” Ms. Whitaker said. “Domestic Violence is not about love. It’s about control.”
Kristen Whitaker was the youngest daughter of eight children. When they were younger, their mother took the girls to domestic violence meetings in California to expose them to violent truth.
“I figure if my daughters are exposed to this they would learn something. But when you’re in your 20s you don’t think nothing is going to happen to you,” Ms. Whitaker said.
“They should be talking about signs of abuse in school.”
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to findings released today by the CDC.
Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story – more than 1 million women reported being raped in a year and over 6 million women and men were victims of stalking in a year, the report says.
The CDC report is designed to take a look at long-term effects of domestic violence on its victims. The survey, which marks the beginning of a new annual project, is based on a randomized telephone survey of about 9,000 women and 7,400 men.
“This report highlights the heavy toll that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence places on adults in this country,” said Dr. Linda C. Degutis, the CDC’s director of National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “These forms of violence take the largest toll on women, who are more likely to report immediate impacts and long-term health problems caused by their victimization.
“Much victimization begins early in life, but the consequences can last a lifetime.”
The findings indicate female victims of violence had a significantly higher prevalence of long-term health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, frequent headaches, chronic pain, and difficulty sleeping.
And nearly twice as many women who were victims of violence reported having asthma, compared to women who did not report violence victimization.
Here are some of the significant findings:
- High rates of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence were reported by women.
- Nearly 1 in 5 women has been raped at some time in her life.
- One in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
- One in 6 women has experienced stalking victimization during her lifetime in which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. Much of stalking victimization was facilitated by technology, such as unwanted phone calls and text messages.
- Almost 70 percent of female victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
- Approximately 80 percent of female victims of rape were first raped before age 25.
- Female victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than female non–victims.
- Across all forms of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence), the vast majority of victims knew their perpetrator (often an intimate partner or acquaintance and seldom a stranger).
- About 1 in 7 men has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
- One in 19 men has experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
- Almost 53 percent of male victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before age of 25
- More than one-quarter of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
- Male victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than male non-victims.