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Domestic violence affects all — but the poor have fewer resources to escape it

Thanks to Marylou Yam for her commentary suggesting "The NFL could become a leader in domestic violence prevention" (Jan. 14). Her warning that the Mueller Report absolving NFL officials for not seeing the video of Ray Rice assaulting Janay Rice should not be the focus of our concern is well placed. I agree that the need to provide services and support to abused women must be the focus, as well as the need for all people — first responders to fans — to not let this issue die.

However, the fact that domestic violence affects women across all socioeconomic, racial and ethnic lines must not allow us to forget that it is worse in all disadvantaged communities. As someone who has done research and teaching on domestic violence in marginalized communities, I can attest that we need to put as much emphasis as we can in providing resources, community advocates, trained personnel and unique provisions where needed.

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For example, research has shown that in poor communities of color, simply having a van available to take women to a domestic violence center so they may receive care and resources can be the difference between life and death. This in no way means that we forget about the desperate needs for care, resources, and safety plans for women with higher incomes and education. It just means that we must prioritize marginalized women in ways they can protect themselves and their children as much as possible.

Natalie J. Sokoloff, Baltimore

The writer is professor emerita, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and editor of "Domestic Violence at the Margins: Readings on Race, Class, Gender and Culture" published by Rutgers University Press.

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