Report reveals startling truths of violence against women

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Michigan ranks tenth in the country in the rate of women murdered by men.

A new study, just released by the Violence Policy Center, was released ahead of domestic violence awareness month, in October.

Tuesday, we sat down with the Kalamazoo YWCA, who says the numbers are sad, but not all that surprising.

On June 17, 2013, John Kovach shot and killed his wife, Nancy, in the home they shared with their two young boys.

Weeks later, Lisa Heerera Gleason and her 17-month-old son, Maxwell, were found dead in their home. Lisa's husband, Patrick, then took his own life.

And in January of 2015, Allegan County Sheriff's authorities say Harold "Butch" Knight killed his wife Sara, and then took off. He is still on the run.

"Those are when women incur the worst of the abuse that they've had is when they leave, when they're pregnant, when they decide to get a personal protection order, when they've decided enough is enough and that's the ultimate way to control somebody is to kill them," said YWCA Victim Services Director Cathy Brown.

The Violence Policy Center study called "When Men Murder Women," utilized homicide data from 2013--the most recent year available.

In Michigan, 73 females were murdered by males in 2013. The average age was 37.

The YWCA, in Kalamazoo, works with domestic violence victims on a daily basis.

Brown says it's all about power.

"All of them are hurt by somebody who claimed to love them at some point. Who they thought was going to love them who turned out to be somebody who just wanted to control them and whatever level of abuse they need to maintain their control, that's how far they go," she said.

Brown has this advice for victims:

"Whatever they've told you they're going to do to harm you--believe them," she said. "You know, take the steps you need for you and your family to be safe."

To see the full report for yourself, click here.