Domestic violence knows no boundaries

Domestic violence can ruin relationships, tear apart hearts and lead to cold-blooded murder.

Domestic violence can ruin relationships, tear apart hearts and lead to cold-blooded murder.

The horrific story of Melissa and Joseph Batten proved domestic violence has no boundaries. They were both young and successful with bright futures.

Melissa, a game programer at Microsoft, tried to escape the violent, suicidal wrath of her estranged husband by moving to a different city and acquiring an emergency protection order.

“She did everything right,” said Barbara Langdon, executive director of Eastside Domestic Violence Program (EDVP), one of three domestic violence agencies in King County.

But in the end, everything went wrong.

Joseph Batten, a senior manager at Wizards of the Coast, tracked down his wife, blasted her with eight 9-mm bullets into the torso before turning the gun and killing himself.

Melissa and Joseph become part of some staggering statistics. There are an estimated 90,750 domestic violence incidents in King County each year, according to the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. One in four women, nationally, are victims of domestic violence, Langdon said.

When incidents like last month’s murder-suicide in Redmond happen, it makes us appreciate what agencies like Eastside Domestic Violence Program provide for our communities. Langdon’s agency is the biggest support service provider in east and north King County.

The Batten tragedy proves that domestic violence should not be taken lightly. It can happen to anybody, no matter the economical or cultural makeup.

Domestic violence is a raging bull that needs to be stopped — an ongoing challenge for agencies such as EDVP. However, while such support services need to increase, the money for them is decreasing.

Because of the county’s $68 million deficit in the general fund, EDVP could lose up to $200,000 in financial assistance over the next three years, Langdon said.

“We should be increasing our services,” she said. “We should not have to turn away a battered woman.”

Assault or battery can be just the tip of the iceberg in the dangerous world of domestic violence.

It can lead to cold-blooded murder.

To join the fight against domestic violence, check EDVP’s Web site at If you are victim of domestic violence, call the EDVP 24-hour crisis hotline at (425) 746-1940.