Saturday, May 18, 2013
Murder-Suicide Leaves Agencies Wishing They Could Have Done More
APD and AWAIC say they see the situation all too often
A murder-suicide that left a woman and a man dead in their South Anchorage home has Anchorage police and domestic violence shelters wondering if more could have been done to prevent the tragedy from happening.
Police say before the bodies of 40-year-old Tae Won To and 33-year-old Yoo Jin Kim were found in their home, neighbors reported hearing noises from the couple’s home, according to a neighbor.
“People who have just moved here, if they get into this situation they often don’t know to call the police,” said Anchorage Police Department spokesmen, Lt. Dave Parker.
APD says Ro and Kim, who were both Korean, spoke very little English, which, they claim, could have prevented Kim from getting help.
Advocates from Abused Women's Aid In Crisis, or Awaic shelter say this is something they see all too often.
“There’s also the dynamic of family and culture that says your supposed to keep those things in the family, you don’t talk to outsiders,” said Suzi Pearson, executive director of Awaic.
Police say it's a difficult transition for families who come from diverse backgrounds.
“One of the things that we have seen in the past is the fact that in certain cultures, domestic violence is not considered a crime, here it is,” said Parker.
Every year, Awaic serves nearly a thousand people from across Anchorage, but only about five percent of those are non-English speakers. And advocates say this is not an accurate representation given our diverse community.
Awaic offers help to anyone who needs assistance, and has translators that speak more than fifty languages.
Local victims advocates say when it comes to speaking out - a person's language should not keep them silent.