Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, our nation's response to domestic violence has greatly improved. But there still is a long way to go. You wouldn't know that from what was reported by Solon police from Friday through last Tuesday.

Each year, 14.5 million children teens and adults are victims of family and intimate partner violence. In my opinion, that is one too many.

And don't think for a minute that type of behavior is limited to a single area. It reaches the upper class, the middle class, the suburbs and crosses all races and ethnicities.

But what startled me was four incidents reported in a span of five days in Solon, an eastern suburb of Cleveland.

Let me give you the thumbnail sketches.

Just after 12:30 a.m. Friday, police were called to a Bainbridge Road for a 9-1-1 hang up call. When police called back, a woman at the home, 41, said there was no problem. Upon arrival police heard shouting coming from inside the home. Officers were met at the door by the woman, who again told officers that everything was fine and they weren't need.

She appeared to be highly intoxicated. When questioned she stated that her female neighbor, 56, was in the home and that she was arguing with her common law husband. The male, 47, of Solon came out of his bedroom and told police that the woman who talked to them was drunk and was planning on driving to get more alcohol so he took the car keys.

He stated that she pushed him so he retreated to his bedroom with the keys and locked the door. She began to bang on the door trying to gain entry. The door had a hole in it and there was visible damage to door frame. She was arrested and charged with domestic violence.

Just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, police were sent to a SOM Center address. The victim, 45, of Solon told officers that her ex-husband, 50, of Cleveland was at the home earlier to pick up their 12-year-old daughter. While the ex-husband was waiting outside the front door, he noticed his ex-wife's boyfriend was inside the house and an argument ensued.

The ex-husband shouted that he was going to "hurt" the boyfriend for being in "his" house and watching "his" television. He then punched the front door window out causing glass to strike the victim in her right eye. She was taken to Ahuja Hospital for a laceration. Warrants for felony domestic violence and attempted burglary were entered for the ex-husband who was gone upon police arrival.

Just before 10:30 a.m. Sunday, police were sent to the police station lobby for the report of domestic violence. The victim, 36, of Solon stated that she got into an argument with her husband, 36, and he subsequently became verbally abusive. At one point, she said he put his hands around her neck, applying chocking pressure and stated, "I wish I could kill you right now." According to the victim, her husband was currently out of town on business. A warrant for domestic violence was issued for the husband.

At 1 a.m. Tuesday, police were sent to Portage Street on a report of a domestic situation in progress. According to dispatch, the victim, 28, of Solon fled the home due to a physical fight with the father of their two children and was hiding in the bushes. Upon police officers' arrival, the victim was located in the tree line near Portage and Aurora Road. She was crying and stated that he had hit her in the head and chocked her and wouldn't let her leave the residence.

Officers observed redness and swelling on her left cheek, neck and chest. Officers responded to the residence and arrested him for domestic violence. Several weapons located in the home were removed and held for safekeeping. Because the children -- 6 years old and 11 days old -- were present when the domestic violence occurred, 696-KIDS was contacted and advised of the situation.

It's a sad commentary on the state of relationships but it used to be much worse. Why? Women, who were commonly but not always the victims were afraid to speak out. It wasn't until the early 1990s that being a domestic violence victim was no longer a stigma.

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