Money for Women Victims of Crime Goes Missing

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl O'Neill

In the news lately, there have been a couple of high-profile cases in which women have gone "missing."

Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, a pregnant Marine from Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, N.C., went missing in the middle of last December. She disappeared just days after her meeting with a group of military prosecutors to talk about her allegation that Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean had raped her.

Charred remains of a woman and unborn child were found in Laurean's backyard on Jan. 11. The woman was identified as Maria Lauterbach.

On the same day that Lauterbach was found dead, Leta Lynn Cordes, from Orange County, Calif., went missing on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. The story of her disappearance is still confused, and she has not yet been found.

These stories are tragic and frightening - but sadly, they are commonplace. In fact, the Department of Justice tells us that because of domestic violence alone, about three American women each and every day are murdered. In other words, they go "missing." Pregnant women are not protected from this level of violence. In fact, homicide is a leading cause of traumatic death for pregnant and postpartum women in the United States, accounting for 31 percent of maternal injury deaths.

The story you may not have heard, however, is about the $1 million that has gone missing in Oregon this year. This is money that should have provided support to victims of crime and helped to end domestic and sexual violence. But money for the Victim of Crime Act has been cut back across the nation. These cutbacks translate to a potential loss of more than $100,000 in Lane County alone.

Even at current funding rates, the National Network to End Domestic Violence reported that, on the single day of the network's One Day Shelter Count for 2007, nearly 8,000 adults and children had to be turned away because of a lack of adequate resources. In Oregon, the report tells us that there were 212 unmet requests for service that day due to lack of resources. …