RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence Issues Statement on Murder of Rachael Rene

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


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The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence released a statement regarding the domestic violence murder of Rachael Rene.

Rene, 33, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend Luis Motta on Tuesday morning inside her River Avenue apartment.

Their 8-month-old child was inside the apartment at the time.

Executive Director Tonya Harris Released the following statement:

We are devastated by the domestic violence murder of Rachael Rene, which occurred in her Providence apartment yesterday and marks the first domestic violence homicide of 2019. Rachael was brutally stabbed by her boyfriend, Louis Motta, who surrendered himself to authorities shortly thereafter.

We are profoundly saddened that only two weeks into the new year, we are mourning another life lost to domestic violence. Rachael, just 33-years-old, was a beloved mother, friend, and member of our community. Her tragic murder reminds us that domestic violence happens every day, in every Rhode Island city and town. In such a small state, we are all affected by Rachael’s death. We extend our deepest condolences to her loved ones and to all who have been impacted by this heinous crime.

We are particularly distressed to learn that Rachael’s 8-month-old baby was in the home at the time of the murder. Our entire community of survivors and advocates holds this infant child and their family in our hearts, and embrace them with strength and love.

Every year in Rhode Island, children are present for nearly 2,000 police-involved domestic violence incidents. In 2018, 575 children who witnessed abuse received services from our network of member agencies, and because domestic violence is underreported, we know that we are reaching only a fraction of the children who are being impacted. Witnessing domestic violence as a child can lead to serious long-term health and developmental consequences, including depression, drug use, poor academic achievement, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Infants may experience problems sleeping and eating, and can develop “failure to thrive,” where they do not grow as expected.

Rhode Island communities are close-knit, so with 1 in 4 Rhode Islanders experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes, we have all witnessed the suffering caused by abuse, or know someone who has. Understanding the dynamics of control, we know that perpetrators do not “just snap” or lose their tempers; their violence escalates as their control begins to erode.

Domestic violence murder is rarely an isolated incident, but is often the final act in a pattern of abuse that has escalated over time. Each of us needs to educate ourselves about the warning signs of domestic violence so that we can identify when someone we know is being abused and connect them to help and resources.


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