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Congresswoman Robin Kelly

Representing the 2nd District of Illinois


Constituent Spotlight: Yolan Corner

Oct 15, 2013
Constituent Spotlight

Mother Seeks to Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers


            When Yolan Corner attends press conferences condemning gun violence, she tries to speak to reporters about the plague of domestic homicides, but is always shut down when she utters the words “domestic violence.”

            “They don’t want to hear about it, but it’s a big part of the gun violence epidemic—and it needs to be addressed,” the Chicago resident said.

            Yolan knows firsthand. Four years ago, her daughter Nova Henry and 10-month-old granddaughter Ava were murdered by her daughter’s former boyfriend, who had a history of domestic abuse and battery convictions." 

            Yolan believes it’s imperative to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

            “The person who killed my daughter had a track record of assault, attempted robbery and threats to assault,” Yolan said. “If you look at the background of most domestic abusers, there may not be convictions because abuse charges are often dropped, but there are red flags in the form of complaints that clearly show the person most likely has anger issues. You do not want to put a gun in the hands of a person with anger issues. That’s why more programs need to be in place to make sure these red flags come up when people like this try to buy a gun.”

            One such program is Target Abuser Calls (T.A.C.), operated by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. The program tracks domestic abusers who have been in court or before a judge. If they try to buy a gun, a red flag appears and they cannot purchase a weapon.

            “It prevents a person from purchasing a gun to go shoot a person,” Yolan said. “Too often, fists, pushing and shoving turn into: ‘I need to get a gun.’ If we can expand on programs like T.A.C., there’s hope. Unfortunately, the program is not properly manned to monitor all the domestic violence cases. We need to expand on this program because it works.”

            According to recent studies, a gun is the weapon most commonly used in domestic homicides in the United States. Nearly one-third of all women murdered in the U.S. in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner.

            Yolan often lectures at schools and citizen meetings in the Chicago area about domestic violence.

            “My first plea is that you don’t have to stay in a domestic violence situation–there is a way out. Women think that’s what their life is doomed to be. I let them know that there’s always hope and a way out. After one meeting, there was a lady who came to the realization that she was in a situation and realized she can get help. She hadn’t realized that before. It’s not widely advertised how to get help.”

            Yolan said that an abuser may be a police officer, political figure or a banker.

            “He may be a law-abiding citizen. The man who killed my daughter and granddaughter was a lawyer.  But he had a history of violent behavior. He is typical of a person who slips through the loopholes.”

            During her talks on domestic violence, Yolan always reminds people that domestic violence is everyone’s problem.

            “Step in if you see a problem,” she urges.



Red Flags for Domestic Abuse*

Does your partner:

  • Expect you to spend all of your time with him or to "check in" with and let him know where you are?
  • Act extremely jealous and/or possessive of you?
  • Isolate you by controlling where you go, who you see and talk to, what you wear?
  • Treat you with disrespect and put you down?
  • Put down your friends and family, your dreams, ideas and/or goals?
  • Lose his temper frequently over little things?
  • Make you feel as if you are walking on eggshells to keep the peace?
  • Make threats to hurt you, leave you, hurt your pets, destroy your property and/or commit suicide if you don't do what he wants?
  • Play mind games or make you feel guilty?
  • Refuse to take responsibility for his actions? Blame you, drugs or alcohol, his boss, parents, etc. for his behavior?

*From the “New Hope for Women” website

Robin Kelly



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