The Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault joins the community in mourning the senseless death of three-month-old Sean Flowers III. We share the sentiment of Mr. Joey Griffin, one of the courageous bystanders who attempted to save the infant, who said, “We all lost. We all lost this one.” Our community feels a tremendous sense of shock, grief, and loss, and the hearts and thoughts of our membership go out to Sean’s loved ones as well as the selfless witnesses and first responders, who continue to grapple with this tragedy.
It is important to note that this case has befallen our city during a year, when domestic violence homicides and shootings have increased in Milwaukee.
Victims have many reasons for staying in abusive relationships, not the least of which is fear for their safety and the safety of their children. When victims assert their independence or leave, perpetrators devise other ways to reestablish control. When this occurs, children can become leverage, and abuse against children can become a perpetrator’s dangerous tool to control current or former partners.
The importance of awareness, prevention, support, and resources for domestic violence cannot be overstated. There is often a lengthy history of violence in an abusive relationship, and close family members or friends may be aware of it. Domestic violence has a cyclical and escalating nature, and when these situations implode, the ripple effect goes beyond the immediate victim and abuser. In fact, merely witnessing violence is enough to traumatize those involved. This is why we must take the warning signs of domestic violence seriously and intervene before it is too late.
Preventing another tragedy demands collective action from all segments of our community. As a Commission, we remain steadfast and committed in our efforts to ensure a seamless, compassionate, and meaningful network of support for families impacted by violence. We remain unyielding in our advocacy for a system that holds perpetrators accountable while providing pathways to change their abusive behaviors and repair the harm that they have caused. We will continue to seek new ways to stop violence before it starts, sustain healthy families, and make Milwaukee a safer place. Concerned bystanders and loved ones who suspect abuse are urged to report it. If it is safe to do so, reach out to your loved one, convey concern, listen to them, and assist them in accessing supportive resources. If you are being hurt, know that you are not alone, and help is available.
A domestic violence resource listing can be found on the City of Milwaukee Health Department website.
Housed in the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention, the Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault was founded by the Milwaukee Common Council in 1979 and is a multidisciplinary board representing the many systems that serve families impacted by violence in our community to improve local responses to domestic violence and sexual assault.