Advocates for victims of domestic violence say the recent killing of 22-year-old Emily Ferlazzo shines yet another light on what they say is a common reality for women.

Diane Kinney of CircleVT, a domestic violence hotline in Washington County, said said a woman is battered or physically abused every seven seconds in the U.S. She said the hotline receives about 450 calls a month on average.

“Folks don’t think that they’re in an abusive relationship until they get hit,” Kinney said. “And when that happens they might have a couple kids, they’ve been together for a while and it’s much harder to leave.”

University of Vermont lecturer Justin Morgan-Parmett said the problem is not simply the number of abusive spouses. “This is a culture of teaching. We’re creating a culture of masculinity that is destructive,” he said.

Parmett teaches a class on violent masculinities. He once asked men and women ages 13 – 70 what it means to be masculine. 

“Be tough, be powerful, don’t back down. And if someone challenges them, it’s often that violence is the best way to get what I want,” said Morgan-Parmett.

Kinney says common signs of abuse are extreme jealousy, control, blaming and isolation, which often lead to physical violence. 

Kinney encourages victims’ and their families, to call the hotline or reach out to domestic violence-prevention programs located in every Vermont county. She said Norwich University will host an event Thursday, October 28, that gives survivors the opportunity to share their stories.