For Immediate Release
October 18, 2022
Contacts: The Network/La Red, Cristina Dones, email@example.com, 617-695-0877
YWCA of Central MA, Tara Huard, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Doe Inc., Toni Troop, TTroop@janedoe.org, 617-212-7571
Domestic Violence Programs Respond to Death of Ryan C. Anderson
Boston, MA – About 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ people experience partner abuse in their lifetime, the same alarming rate as straight, cisgender people. The recent death of Ryan C. Anderson, 29 on October 1 in Millbury, MA, which appears to be a domestic violence related homicide involving an LGBTQ+ couple, has prompted The Network/La Red, the YWCA of Central MA, and Jane Doe Inc. to remind the public that services and support are available for LGBTQ+ communities.
Ryan C. Anderson, 29, and his partner Kevin D. Donnellan, 34, lived together in Millbury, where Ryan was discovered on Saturday, October 1 by police after Kevin called 911. Kevin told the dispatcher he and Ryan got into a fight and Ryan’s body was downstairs. He said Ryan’s neck was slashed and Kevin tried to take his own life after the altercation. When police arrived, they found a text Ryan sent from his phone to someone saying he was afraid Kevin might kill him. Kevin has been charged with assault to murder, assault and battery on a family or household member, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, all to which he has plead not guilty.
“We are saddened by this tragedy and offer our condolences to Ryan C. Anderson’s loved ones,” said Beth Leventhal, Executive Director of The Network/La Red, a survivor-led organization working to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. “This highlights the importance of providing accessible survivor-led resources and services for LGBTQ+ survivors to let them know we support them and their safety.”
Partner abuse, or domestic violence, is about one person using a pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over another. The tactics used to abuse are identical to the tactics used to oppress and include physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, and cultural/identity abuse. Domestic violence advocates continue to stress the need for more education around the history of abuse and its connection to oppression in community, in healthcare, in the courtroom, and in service and advocacy organizations to better support survivors.
“We need more education and understanding about LGBTQ+ partner abuse in the courtroom and everywhere survivors seek support, including domestic and sexual violence organizations, mental and physical healthcare systems, and beyond” said Cristina Dones, Director of Outreach, Organizing, and Education at The Network/La Red. “It would allow us to hold abusers accountable, which makes all the difference in validating survivors’ experiences of abuse and fostering safety and justice for them.”
Understanding who is the survivor and who is the abuser is imperative at determining whether a homicide was an act of domestic violence or a final act of self-defense. As the statewide coalition against sexual assault and domestic violence, Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) documents the occurrence of intimate partner violence related homicides in Massachusetts. Since January 1, 2022, JDI has identified 15 intimate partner violence related homicides incidents that have resulted in the death of 11 women and 2 men domestic violence victims and two men who were associated with a domestic violence victim.
If you are concerned about your relationship or the relationship of a friend or family member, call The Network/La Red’s free and confidential hotline at 800-832-1901 or visit tnlr.org. The YWCA of Central MA provides domestic violence services and can be reached 24/7 via live chat at www.ywcahelp.com or via hotline at 508-755-9030.