GREENUP A particularly gruesome domestic violence incident in Greenup County has resulted in charges and awareness of the issue in the area.
The suspect was accused of beating his wife with a fire poker and raping her, according to court records.
Ann Perkins, the director of Safe Harbor, a women's shelter serving northeastern Kentucky, said marital rape is an issue domestic violence advocates have been attempting to address in the state legislature for 50 years.
“A lot of times, men will hold victims at gunpoint or with knives or threaten the children,” she said. “We educate women who come here that sex is not a duty, but that it's a consensual act between two people.”
Since the crime occurred in a small, rural section of Greenup County, The Daily Independent has decided not to name the suspect, in order to prevent inadvertently naming the victim.
An arrest citation shows early Wednesday morning, an argument ensued in the home due to the suspect quitting his job recently.
Things turned physical, at which point the suspect hit the victim in the face and took her cell phone so she could not call for help.
Perkins said isolation is a key part of how perpetrators keep victims in their clutches. She said in rural areas — such as in this case — that isolation gets compounded.
“Rural areas are definitely harder up a holler where hardly anyone comes up the road,” she said. “They might not have cell phone service or internet, and that's the point. They can't access friends or family or the police for help.”
The victim tried to fight back to get away, enraging the suspect more — court records show he broke the kitchen table, a chair and a window in the home.
The victim attempted several times to escape, but the suspect assault her, at times grabbing her by the hair and throwing to the floor. He even spit on her, records show.
At one point, the suspect grabbed a fire poker and whacked her multiple times in the stomach, records show. He then pulled a knife out and held it against her throat, threatening to kill her, then himself, records show.
He also choked her, according to the citation.
The victim laid down in bed, fully clothed with her shoes on so she could high-tail it out of there a soon as her abuser fell asleep, court records show.
Perkins said leaving the situation is the most dangerous moment in an abusive relationship.
The suspect walked into the bedroom and raped his wife, according to the court records.
Court records show the victim reported the incident to the sheriff's office later that day, at which point a rape kit was conducted on the victim.
Based on the injuries to her body, deputies had enough evidence to pick up the suspect on charges of second-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and first-degree strangulation. The suspect has not been charged with rape or any sexual offense at this time.
At the time of his arrest, law enforcement also served an emergency protective order on the suspect. Perkins said these orders, which are obtained from a circuit court judge, are “statistically proven to save lives.”
“Look at the murders we had right at the beginning of the pandemic,” Perkins said. “Those victims had EPOs out on their perpetrators, then they dropped them because they were afraid. Look at what they did.”
Women currently experiencing domestic abuse may contact Safe Harbor at (606) 329-9304. The crisis line is monitored 24 hours a day. The shelter can also be reached via email — visit www.safeharborky.org or its Facebook page for more information.
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