Compass Center on Lennox Shootings: Abuse Indicators and How to Help
Although the details or motive of the apparent murder suicide in Lennox are not being revealed, the issue of abuse or violence is a concern in this and other households.
Authorities say 35 year old Stephanie Hoover shot and killed a man and an 8-year-old boy before turning the gun on herself Tuesday morning.
Both men and women can be victims of abuse, according to Michelle Markgraf, Executive Director at the Compass Center.
"We often see that domestic violence will elevate gradually over many many years," said Markgraf.
"Murder is the most severe form of domestic violence, because it ends a life. What we do at the Compass Center is work with men and women who are in domestic violence situations to help them identify the controlling behaviors that are part of their lives and hopefully get them out of the situation before it escalates to that point."
Markgraf says signs of abuse is all about control. Other signs of controlling behavior include isolating the victim from friends and family, by not allowing them to spend time with friends or talk to family on the phone. It seems like one person is trying to control the other person.
As the entire community of Lennox reaches out to help the surviving children, Markgraf offers her insight on being there for any children who have had violence in their family.
"Those kids have gone through a traumatic experience, assuming that domestic violence has been happening over a long period of time. They need help, they need love. Friends and family need to understand they're going to showing different behaviors now and to just accept them where they are at, at that point. Accept their behaviors and talk to them as they want to be talked with."
And for those wanting to help someone in an abusive situation, Markgraf says well meaning people on the outside may try to put pressure on the victim to leave, which may cause the victim to retreat further. The best plan according to experts is to come along side the victim, help them devise a safety plan while they remain in the abuse relationship, and when the victim is ready to leave, help them victim plan and put all the pieces together to get out of the situation.
For additional resources contact the Compass Center in Sioux Falls.