Georgia makes grim list for crime rate

State ranked 10th in U.S. in '08 for women killed by men
Yasmin Thomas-Goodman counsels a client at Safehomes of Augusta. She says men might learn violent behavior at home or from a peer group.



More women are becoming victims of violence in Georgia, and those in Augusta are no exception.

Georgia is now one of the top 10 states in the number of women killed by men, according to an annual study released last month by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based group that tracks gun violence.

The study, titled "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data," uses the most recent homicide data submitted to the FBI, which in this case was from two years ago.

Numbers show that in Georgia -- which moved from 15th to 10th place in a ranking of states -- 95 percent of women killed by men were attacked by someone they knew. Of those victims, 63 percent were wives of their killers.

Four women have been killed by men in Augusta this year.

Cheryl Carswell, the owner and counselor of Georgia Family Crisis Solutions in Martinez, said she has more women entering her program than ever. She blames the increase on the bad economy and the problems it causes within families.

"I'm sure it has to do with stress, but it does not justify it," Carswell said.

In tough times, men who can't, or won't, talk about their problems sometimes act out violently.

"They are more stressed and the less ability to communicate how they feel -- frustrated, confused, desperate, helpless, hopeless -- they are going to just communicate through violence because they don't know what else to do," Carswell said.

As a senior counselor at Safehomes of Augusta, Yasmin Thomas-Goodman said that most men who attack women learned their violent traits in the home or from a peer group as they grew up. Often, they didn't see any serious consequences for their actions.

"It's all about power and control," Thomas-Goodman said.

According to the study, the average age for a female Georgian homicide victim was 33. Most were black, and in those cases where weapons were used, a firearm -- usually a handgun -- was the weapon most frequently used, the study shows.

Carswell said the programs at her center teach men not to minimize, deny or blame others for what they've done. The main goal is to teach them to accept responsibility.

"We all choose our actions and behavior," she said.

Latest figures analyzed

The Violence Policy Center, a Washington-based nonprofit group, used the most recent homicide data submitted to the FBI in its study, "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data.

Rank/State/No. of/Rate per

Homicides 100,000

1 Nev. 38 2.96

2 Vt. 8 2.54

3 Ala. 50 2.07

4 N.C. 97 2.05

5 Tenn. 63 1.97

6 Texas 209 1.72

7(tie) Ark. 25 1.71

7(tie) Mo. 52 1.71

9 S.C. 39 1.69

10 Ga. 82 1.66

Source: Violence Policy Center

Local victims

Women killed by men in Augusta this year include:

- Tykiah Palmer, 16, who was pregnant when shot to death Feb. 17 by a fellow teen who had an argument with her brother. Loviet N. Edwards, 15, was charged with murder in April.

- Janee J. Johnson, 27, was found dead inside her M.M. Scott Apartment on Spruce Street on July 2. Authorities believe she was stabbed to death by Andre Jackson and Marcus Tyler because they feared she would talk to the police about a previous murder.

- Gene Bailey, 84, was suffocated by her husband, Henry Wright Bailey, also 84, on July 16 in what authorities have called a "mercy killing." The investigation determined that he killed her to end her suffering caused by advanced dementia.

- Patricia Burley, 54, was found dead in a wooded area near Hall Street four days after she went missing from her Wrightsboro Road home Aug. 22. Burley had Down syndrome, and authorities believe Corey Smith, 29, raped, then killed her by stuffing paper towels down her throat.

Need help?

Women in trouble may visit:

GEORGIA FAMILY CRISIS SOLUTIONS: Offers classes in arbitration and mediation, anger management and family intervention domestic violence programs, and many others. For information, call (706) 869-7373.

TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDERS: An order from a judge prohibiting the abuser from having contact with the victim; the abuse must be a repeat. For information, call the Richmond County Superior Court Clerk's Office at (706) 821-2460.

SAFEHOMES OF AUGUSTA: Provides counseling, a domestic abuse hot line at (706) 736-2499, shelter and relocation assistance, cell phones for emergency calls and assistance with legal issues.