PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police have joined religious and community groups in a common cause — finding ways to stop violence against women and girls.
Domestic violence calls are among the most dangerous for police officers everywhere. According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, 20 percent of officers killed in the line of duty were murdered during a domestic dispute.
Violence against women and girls brought a number of groups and organizations together for a community-wide summit. The violence comes in many forms.
“Teen dating violence, domestic violence, violence against LGBTQ women, violence against human trafficking, even female genital mutilation,” Lois Toni McClendon, with the Coalition Against Violence, said.
Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence and the Black Political Empowerment Project, the purpose is to bring community groups, religious organizations, police and youth together to discuss solutions.
“I have a 19-year-old granddaughter, and I know so many young women who are themselves now hearing more and more about young women being in abusive relationships,” McClendon said.
Reverend Shanea Leonard, with the Judah Fellowship Christian Church, is concerned about violence against a group that never gets talked about.
“Nobody ever mentions the trans women who get murdered every year, and their murders go unsolved. Those are women, black women most times, who are victims of violence that nobody seems to care about,” she said.
She believes everyone has a right to human dignity and to feel valued. Reverend James Harris, with the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, believes people must change the way they view each other.
“We’ve got to change our dialogue with each other and support each other verbally and speak power and empowerment and ability and potential and success,” Harris said.
None of the answers will come overnight, but those attending believe this is a start.