Saturday September 15, 2012

Next Thursday’s "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes" parade in downtown Pittsfield will put the focus on the problem of domestic violence, but unfortunately there are reminders of it almost daily. A Pittsfield court case that concluded last Thursday spoke to the complexity of the issue.

Dominick Simonetta, 39, of Pittsfield, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction for three separate violent incidents involving his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend after pleading guilty to a variety of counts, primarily of assault and battery. There are a number of reasons why women stay in violent relationships, economic more than any other. In this case, according to Second Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer III, the couple "had a toxic relationship centered around alcohol." Alcohol abuse is at the root of crimes from domestic violence to deaths and injuries resulting from drunken driving.

In sentencing, Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini said Mr. Simonetta deserved a term in state prison, predicted he would end up there during the course of his two-year probation period, and was "giving him a break" in sending him to the local prison. We hope he takes advantage of this break and gets the help with his alcohol problem through the resources offered by the Berkshire Sheriff’s Department. Help is out there for anyone afflicted with an alcohol abuse problem.

For those who want to assist those local agencies that provide help for abused women, like the Elizabeth Freeman Center, "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence," is a great way to do so. The walk during downtown Pittsfield’s Third Thursday celebration on the 20th, will raise funds and educate people about the horrific, deep-rooted issue of gender-based violence.