Our Opinion: Domestic violence issue brought home

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The community can be thankful that a standoff last week in Pittsfield, between a distraught city man and police, ended without further incident ("Police: Threats preceded standoff," Eagle, Sept. 14).

The standoff on Onota Street forced a neighborhood to hunker down, and it prompted nearby schools and facilities to shelter in place for several hours, while Pittsfield police successfully negotiated a volatile situation and took the man into custody. The victim, who had been threatened with rape and death, had escaped the home by jumping out a window; she then alerted police who arrived with a significant show of force.

The standoff lasted several hours, but authorities managed to coax the man into coming out, avoiding an escalation that could have resulted in injury or worse to police officers, anyone nearby or the man himself. The man is undergoing a mental health evaluation and will face a hearing that could classify him as "dangerous" and hold him behind bars for a period of time.

The incident demonstrates the complicated way domestic violence can suddenly emerge in a community. Along with law enforcement, agencies like the Elizabeth Freeman Center that provide a variety of services to victims are critically important to the battle against domestic violence. Berkshire residents can contribute to the Freeman Center's effort with their dollars and their public support by participating in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Thursday at 6 p.m. at the corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield.

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