Aaron Eckhardt - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

BRAVO learns of an intimate partner violence related homicide in Cleveland, Ohio

March 21, 2016

Media contact:
Aaron Eckhardt, MSW, Training and Technical Assistance Director
(614) 294-7867 | aaron@bravo-ohio.org

Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) responds to the recent arrest of George Rauls, 30, for the murder of his boyfriend Christopher Hardy, 30, on March 1, 2016. George Rauls is said to have strangled his boyfriend, and called 911 during the incident and stated, “I need a cop cause me and my boyfriend got into it. And I’m about to kill him.” Upon arriving Cleveland police found Christopher Hardy unresponsive at the residence. On March 4th a Cleveland Municipal Court judge charged George Rauls with aggregated murder and ordered him to be held on $1 million bond as county prosecutors prepare to present the case to a grand jury.

This is a intimate partner violence related crime. “We at BRAVO are saddened to learn of the most recent incident involving intimate partner violence, and offer our heartfelt condolences and support to Christopher’s family, friends and community, ” said Aaron Eckhardt, of BRAVO. “We believe that it can also be a catalyst for renewed discussion and action on intimate partner violence in LGBTQI communities. Sadly, we know that intimate partner violence in its many forms of physical, sexual, financial, emotional, cultural, and/or spiritual abuse happens within all cultures and communities. We urge our community to continue the difficult yet potentially life-saving work of prevention and system reform. We remain frustrated that the media response continues to misrepresent this incident as ‘roommate violence.’ This mischaracterizes the nature and prevalence of intimate partner violence. We must ask the important questions about victim support and offender accountability within the community and with regard to our systems of support and prevention.”

LGBTQI people experience partner abuse in their lifetime at the same alarming rates as heterosexual people. According to Ruth Downing a Family Nurse Practitioner, of Forensic Healthcare Consulting, “Strangulation or ‘choking’ is a common form of intimate partner violence used to exert control over a person. It is a powerful form of control; a person who has been strangled by a partner has a 700% increased chance of being killed by that partner. Here in Ohio there is a growing interest in improving the healthcare and legal response to strangulation in order to decrease intimidate partner homicide."

BRAVO is a member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). The most recent report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) intimate partner violence issued by NCAVP, BRAVO received 33 reports of intimate partner violence in 2014. Of these incidents 22 survivors reported having experienced physical violence.

BRAVO is working with NCAVP, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Equality Ohio, and other local organizations to offer our assistance with efforts to support the community during this critical time.

“This is another reminder that intimate partner violence is a community issue that affects everyone,” said Gloria McCauley, BRAVO Executive Director. “It needs to be transformed, not silenced by shame, blame, guilt or fear.”

BRAVO encourages anyone who has experienced violence or is concerned about their relationship or the relationship of a friend or family member in Ohio to contact us, 866-86-BRAVO, (614) 294-7867, or www.bravo-ohio.org.

BRAVO works to eliminate violence perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identification, domestic violence, and sexual assault through prevention, education, advocacy, violence documentation, and survivor services, both within and on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities.


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