Domestic violence hits close to home

By Devyn Giannetti

(Herald Post/ Flickr)
(Herald Post/ Flickr)

Soon after returning to the University of Massachusetts from spring break, I received some alarming news. I was told that two people were found dead in a house in Hudson, Ohio, my hometown. With such little information, I really had no idea what took place.

Then the news slowly started to trickle in. On March 21, Kristi Bice was fatally shot by her husband of 22 years, Stephen Bice. According to Cleveland.com, Bice texted his three sons, ages 18, 16 and 14, to lure them out of the house so that he could get to his wife. The boys debated whether or not to leave their mother, but having missed their father, they decided to go to leave for the place the father told them to go. He never showed.

Stephen Bice, who reportedly violated a Summit County judge’s protection order to stay away from Kristi, broke into the home through the front door. Taking his 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun, he fired five shots at Kristi, hitting her four times. He then shot her once in the head at close range before standing over her and using the last bullet to shoot himself, according to the report.

After their 18-year-old son realized his father was never going to meet him and his brothers, the three sons headed back home where the son walked into the house and found his parents dead on the living room floor.

Reading stories like this makes my heart heavy, especially knowing this all took place 10 minutes from my home. I will never understand the pain and struggling the children and family of Kristi Bice are going through. Her oldest son went to my high school and was a sophomore when I graduated in 2014.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused on average by an intimate partner in the United States. One in five women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Seventy-two percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner.

All these statistics are alarming and unacceptable. No one should fear for their life in an intimate relationship.

Sadly, Kristi Bice could tell her life was in danger. Soon before Stephen Bice arrived, she texted her daughter from another relationship, “Boys get there and he isn’t there. I hope he isn’t planning on getting them out of the house so he can blow me up.” Bice even asked her older brother, a Brimfield police officer, to stay at their home and help with whatever protection she needed.

Kristi Bice was taking all the right precautions to protect herself. She reached out to her family for help when she felt in danger and talked with them about the major problems she was having with her husband.

I believe more should have been done by the family to protect Kristi, but I don’t know the entire situation. I don’t want Kristi Bice to be just another statistic. I want her death to be a warning to others in abusive relationships. I want them to know there are resources and people that can help them get out before it’s too late. No one deserves the pain domestic violence causes. An entire family was affected by the horrific death of a mother, daughter, sister and friend.

I am genuinely pleading to those who feel that they are not in a healthy, loving relationship to reach out to others and get out as soon as possible. There is always a way out.

If you or someone you love is in danger, don’t hesitate to take action and call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

Devyn Giannetti is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]