Today’s news:

The Challenge of Domestic Violence

Now that his girlfriend has decided not to press charges, state Sen. Hiram Monserrate has begun to aggressively defend his reputation.

“From the beginning, Karla Giraldo has said this was an accident,” Monserrate said outside the courthouse. “Anyone in this building behind me that cares about the truth will see it the same way.”

We disagree.

Monserrate is accused of slashing his girlfriend in the face with a broken glass while he was still a city councilman. Giraldo reportedly ran screaming to a neighbor’s apartment, begging for help after the attack. Monserrate then took her to a hospital on the Nassau County border, where she allegedly told doctors she had been attacked.

That was then. Giraldo now says the entire incident was an accident. Without her testimony, it may be hard for the district attorney to make his case. The DA could threaten to charge her with filing a false report, assuming she is a victim. This would only victimize her once again.

This is a pattern that surfaces too often in domestic violence cases. The victims are emotionally attached and easily manipulated. They inevitably return to the person who has hurt them. Sometimes they begin to blame themselves for the attack. At best, the victims of domestic violence make poor witnesses.

Giraldo’s story is similar to that of singer Rihanna, who now reportedly refuses to bring charges against her pop‚ąístar boyfriend, Chris Brown. Brown reportedly beat her face to a pulp before kicking her out of his car. The two appear to be trying to work things out.

Women like Rihanna and Giraldo must make it clear to their boyfriends that there cannot be any more violence or threats. Their attempt at reconciliation cannot be unconditional. Meanwhile, the case against Brown is going forward.

We can only hope Brown and Monserrate will seek help with anger management. But there is a difference between these two men. Monserrate is a public figure who may someday be involved in writing domestic violence legislation. Unless he can find the courage and humility to come clean about what he did to his girlfriend, he is unfit to serve this state.

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