By Marie Cantor
With the end of the semester fast-approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about home. The breezy air from the Great Lakes, the bustling sounds of Ford Road, and the ruthless certainty that the Detroit Lions will never make it to the Super Bowl. I’ve lived in Michigan
an my whole life. I’ve gone through the lows of Kwame Kilpatrickand the highs of the slow revival of the automotive companies. My whole life I was told Detroit is good, bad, and ugly. Currently, domestic violence in Wayne County–– the most populous county in Michigan, within which Detroit is included–– is on the rise.
Wayne County’s population is approximately 1.8 million, and Detroit accounts for roughly 37% of that population, according to the 2017 census. By comparison, twenty-eight Bostons can fit in one Detroit. Wayne County’s prosecutor, Kym Worthy, reports a noticeable increase in domestic violence in 2017. She explains that in 2017, the cases neared 9,000––thats about 2,000 more cases than average.
There are 72 organizations in Michigan that provide services to people experiencing domestic violence.Recently, Wayne State University created a new program to help survivors in the Metro Detroit area. Of the 11,341 rape kits found in 2009, those that were tested by the Detroit Police convicted 152 rapists.Pursuits to combat domestic violence in Michigan are all in full force and taken seriously. So why this sudden influx of abuse in Metro Detroit?
Worthy notes a trend she calls, “the CSI effect.” Alluding to the overtly dramatic television show by the same name, this effect makes clear the phenomenon that jurors in the Wayne courtrooms expect theatrics. Jurors want lawyers screaming, and eye-witnesses crying; the jury expects the courtroom to reflect entertainment from television shows. Prosecutor Worthy says this causes difficulties in performing due process.In our culture, there is a thin line between reality and what we see in the media.We watch shows like CSI and Law & Order, and expect to have the same experience in the real world.
The aforementioned theory still doesn’t explain the increase in cases of domestic abuse. The Detroit Police has not given any formal statements or information on the matter. Frankly, there isn’t much talk in general, except for casual slips of information regarding the increase in Wayne County. Even Prosecutor Worthy gave a small statement with no new information, and claims that the police department is ameliorating such situations. Despite this statement, all I personally see is useless talk and little action. I realize that feminist programs continue fighting to help survivors every day, but officials still shirk from solving issues sprouting from lack of communication.
Detroit is not an outlier in this issue. In our society, there is an abundance of programs to help survivors, which is fantastic, but there is no education on how to prevent violence in the first place. The question still stands–how can you tell someone not to be an abuser?
Relationship education is not stated in the sex education obligations providing by Michigan Department of Education.In early education, there needs to be a standard of instructing what a healthy relationship looks like. Instead teachers are instructed to stressabstinence from sex.
Where are the statements? Why are there no questions? Why is there more domestic violence? We claim “Detroit vs Everybody” but it seems we are only fighting ourselves. There is no point of promoting strength when we are still crumbling through the cracks. Detroit is trying to rebuild its economy with fancy bars and cute decorations. But the people of Detroit are being forgotten.
Jachman, Matt. “Wayne County Prosecutor Talks CSI Effect, School Threats, Domestic Violence in Town Hall Meeting.” HometownLife, 5 Dec. 2018, www.hometownlife.com/story/news/2018/12/05/kym-worthy-talks-csi-effect-school-threats-more-town-hall-meeting/2161061002/.
“Michigan Domestic Violence Help, Programs and Statistics.” DomesticShelters.org, www.domesticshelters.org/mi/michigan-domestic-violence-help-statistics.
“HIV/STD and Sex Education in Michigan Public Schools: A Summary of Legal Obligations and Best Practices.” SOM – State of Michigan, Department of Education, www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Michigans_Sex_Education_Laws_Summary_303019_7.pdf