Number Of Domestic Violence Grows, But Still Largely Underreported

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jun 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-25 00:18:23-04

A local organization has been wanting people to stay educated about domestic violence following recent domestic-related murders in Nashville. 

"There is a lot of myths around domestic violence with people thinking it can only happen to certain people and certain relationships," YWCA Vice President of Domestic Violence Services Tracy DeTomasi said. "It has no prejudice or discrimination. It can happen to rich people, poor people, and people of all races and genders."

On Friday, 48-year-old Suzanne Daugherty, a Wilson County Schools employee, was found dead with blunt force trauma to the head and a puncture wound to the back in her Leesa Ann Lane home in Hermitage. 

Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said her husband killed her and set the house on fire. He and her 9-year-old daughter were found in an upstairs bedroom unresponsive and later died from their injuries at the hospital. 

Last weekend, 41-year-old Amy Williams was shot and killed outside her Fatherland Street home. Police said her ex-boyfriend drove up next to her and had a conversation before the shooting. He then shot and killed himself.

The two were in a relationship for four months before she ended it a week prior to her death. 

"Time of a relationship doesn't matter. It can happen in a couple of weeks, or it can happen in ten years," DeTomasi added. "The most dangerous time for a woman is when she tries to leave."

Both cases, calls of domestic abuse were never made from their residences.

"Even though they may not have a history with police does not mean there was no history with domestic violence," DeTomasi said. 

YWCA said one in four women experience domestic violence, but it's one of the most underreported crimes.

According to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, nine out of ten murder-suicides involve men. About 72 percent involve an intimate partner, and 93 percent of the murderers use guns.

In 2014, there were more than 1,200 murder-suicides, but the number has continued to grow over the years.

"It is statistically more significant for men to murder women. The state of Tennessee is ninth at the rate of which men kill women," DeTomasi said. 

If you or someone you know might need help, call YWCA's 24-hour Crisis & Support Helpline at 1-800-334-4628. 

The organization has also provided shelter and assistance in creating a safety plan. 

Call the number or visit to learn more.