KOCO: More women killed by men in Oklahoma than almost any other state

By Meghan Mosley
Published: March 27, 2023

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OKLAHOMA CITY —More women are killed by men in Oklahoma than in almost any other state.

Per capita, Oklahoma has the third highest rate of that particular crime. Oklahoma City police said two more women were killed by their current or former domestic partners over the weekend.

Palomar told KOCO 5 Oklahoma went from eighth in the nation to second for women killed by men.

“Domestic violence went up globally during COVID but I think there are a lot of factors at play here in Oklahoma,” said Hillary Burkholder, CEO of Palomar.

Palomar helps victims and survivors of violence. They are sounding the alarm as grim statistics loom over the Sooner State.

“Unfortunately, 99% of those that are involved in a domestic homicide have not reached out for services. So, letting people know that we’re here is really one of the most important things,” Burkholder said.

Knowing where to get help and how to reach out could be lifesaving.

“Access to firearms. We know if an abuser has access to a firearm, they are five times more likely to kill their victim,” Burkholder said.

On Monday, police are charging a man with shooting and killing his girlfriend and leaving her body inside a home for several days.

“Police believe that victim was in a dating relationship with the suspect who lived there at the house,” said Capt. Valerie Littlejohn, Oklahoma City Police Department. 

Palomar partners with other agencies to help victims and survivors get the help they need.

“I’m shocked and heartbroken for her family and she was a good woman. She was a good friend. If I would’ve known she was in there, I could’ve helped her. If she was trying to get away, she could’ve come to my house. I would’ve got her out of there,” said Annie Sterkel, a friend of the victim.

The other agencies are the YWCA for safety planning and crisis intervention and The Dragonfly Home for sheltering victims. Palomar also provides legal assistance and helps file protective orders.

“Domestic violence is really complex and complicated. So, we are going to meet people wherever they are and again let them lead that conversation about which resources and support they need, and never make that determination for them,” Burkholder said.

KOCO 5 has linked Palomar’s website here. You can also call the 24-hour safe line at 1-800-522-SAFE.