Unbeknownst to a group of community residents who stood outside the 115th Precinct and denounced domestic violence, at the same moment across the county, officers of the 108th Precinct had just discovered the body of another victim of this type of crime.
In just one year, the incidents of domestic violence in Queens have increased by 18 percent, according to Assemblymember Jose Peralta. For that reason he, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, members of the clergy and concerned residents gathered on Saturday, December 12 at Antioch Baptist Church of Corona and marched down Northern Boulevard to the 115th Precinct to bring attention to this silent killer.
“The case of Mrs. Herrarte was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Peralta, about the tragic deaths of Corona residents Edna Herrarte and her son, Daniel, on November 21, who had their throats slashed by husband Otto Herrarte. “Here’s a woman who was living with domestic violence for years and never said anything because she was afraid of her immigration status. She was afraid what she was going to do with her children.”
Peralta on Monday, November 23 asked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for the formation of a Domestic Violence Task Force that would research and keep the issue in the forefront, close any loopholes that prevent abusers from being arrested, and bring more resources to educate communities.
“The message for us standing in front of the 115th Precinct is that if you are an abuser you will end up in jail,” said Peralta.
Reverend Dr. Marvin Bentley of Antioch Baptist Church shared that when the domestic violence abuse of singer Rihanna by her then-boyfriend singer Chris Brown made headlines, the youth ministry of his church began to talk more seriously about this problem.
“That was the center of a number of conversations and discussions so that they would begin to see the kind of devastating effects that relationships have when they are not mindful of that kind of control,” Bentley said.
A few teenagers participated in the march because they wanted to let their generation know that domestic violence should not be allowed in their community.
“Being that’s increasing, we should know that it’s a crime,” said Larry Campos, 17, a student at Flushing High School. His friend Jonathan Ramirez, 17, agreed but added a more personal angle.
“Women are very special to me because my mother raised me all by herself and I don’t want to see other women get hurt like that,” Ramirez said.