Shallow Justice

Domestic abusers often avoid prosecution, receive lighter sentences than others who commit violent acts, and don’t finish their court-ordered intervention programs. The issues reflect tensions between criminal justice reforms and rights and the fight to protect women.


Credit: Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

“Unfortunately, we will have to see some horrible deaths for people to wake up and address this issue.”

– Candida Manion, director, Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, on strangulation of women.

Where to Find Help

Statewide domestic violence hotline

(800) 799-7233

YWCA, Oklahoma City

(800) 522-7233

Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Tulsa

(918) 743-5763

Women’s Resource Center, Norman

(405) 701-5540


Multimedia reporter Whitney Bryen spent much of 2019 reporting on a topic that affects far too many Oklahoma families – domestic abuse. So far, Bryen has revealed that strangulation is a common form of power and control against women and cases against alleged abusers in rural areas often collapse when victims decline to testify. She unpacked a little-known ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that could allow fearful victims to testify remotely, found that most offenders aren’t completing state-mandated intervention courses and examined a system that relies on defendants to voluntarily surrender firearms. Help us shape ongoing coverage by contacting Bryen at wbryen@oklahomawatch.org with your stories, feedback or tips.