Unfortunately, I have sad news to report this week. Two women were killed in St. Johns County on Thursday, August 27th, 2015, just north of the city of St. Augustine. The alleged shooter, James Colley, the estranged husband of one of the victims, Amanda Colley, entered her home and shot her and her friend, Lindy Dobbins.
Amanda Colley had done all of the right things to protect herself. She received an order of protection to keep James Colley away from her. Instead of respecting the order, he allegedly went to her home and shot her to death.
An order of protection is just a piece of paper. It will not prevent harassment, intimidation, or threats. It will not stop a fist, a knife, or a bullet.
However, an order of protection will document abuse and stalking, and this is important. Not every abuser is a killer. Many people respond to orders of protection against them by realizing that their behavior is unacceptable. Some understand their behavior carries consequences and they will stop harassing the victim. The few that don’t respect the law are the most dangerous of abusers. What can we do to help the abused not become harassed further, assaulted, or worse, murdered?
People affected by domestic violence need to be protected. They need our support. Did the victim, Amanda Colley, know about Betty Griffin House, our local domestic violence and sexual assault organization, and the safety shelter available to her? I don’t know. But I know about it and I’m going to tell everyone I know about it, too.
Where is the domestic violence organization in your town? What is their emergency number? Can you find out? Tell a friend whom you think might be in a dangerous situation?
Betty Griffin House’s hotline is 904-824-1555 and the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233.
We, as a community, need to protect our neighbors. We can help make a difference. We can help stop these tragedies. Find the emergency information for the nearest safety shelter to you. Write it down. You never know who may need the number. It might be you.
Remember, if we can help just one woman, we’ve done our job.