Oklahoma ranks No. 4 in domestic violence

Tuesday, September 30th 2008, 4:15 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A new report ranked states based on their murder rate of women killed by men, when there's one victim and one perpetrator.

Oklahoma came in close to the top.

In the last week, a man allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and in a separate incident, another man is accused of killing his ex-wife.

Marcia Smith is an advocate for victims of domestic violence.

"It's very upsetting," Smith said. "We're fourth in the nation for women who are murdered by men."

The ranking came from a report released by the Violence Policy Center. The rankings were based on states' murder rates in 2006.

Oklahoma was ranked No. 4, reporting 38 murders in 2006. More than 56 percent of the murders were caused by guns, and 61 percent of the victims were killed by a current of past boyfriend or husband.

"I am just so sad first of all that we are in this place and that we lost this many women to homicides every year," Smith said.

Sen. Debbe Leftwich (D-OKC) agreed.

"If I was just reading this report, I would think I don't want to live there," Leftwich said. "I was born here and I want to do something to make it a better place for women and for families."

Leftwich authored the GPS domestic law that allows judges to force batterers to wear GPS tracking devices. Leftwich said she'll continue pushing for other bills this session.

"One of the first things we need to do is make domestic violence first time offense a felony," Leftwich said. "It's still a misdemeanor."

Leftwich said she hopes the report serves as a wakeup call and advocates hope it stops more women from becoming statistics.

"If someone is threatening to hurt you, if someone is threatening to kill you, tell someone," Smith said. "Let us help. We can't help until you call."

Anyone who is being threatened or abused is urged to call the statewide Safe Line at 1-800-522-SAFE.