Following the brutal murder of 23-year-old Sarah Coit on the Lower East Side, several New York legislators are advocating a bill that would create an online database revealing the names of convicted domestic abusers, much like a sex-offender registry. Coit’s boyfriend, Raul Barrera, who confessed to her murder, reportedly had at least seven domestic violence incidents with former girlfriends before killing Coit a week ago.
State Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx), and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) are co-sponsoring the bill.
This is an interesting proposal, one which will surely garner plenty of arguments regarding privacy, a domestic abuser’s ability to change, and logistics — not to mention budgets (a domestic abuse registry in Virginia was killed for financial reasons). But perhaps the most compelling question is: Would finding a name in the database actually result in a woman not becoming involved with that person? Knowledge is some of the battle; empowerment is another, and while they go hand-in-hand, they’re not always the same thing. Still, knowledge is a start.