Rep. Kulik, domestic violence advocates rally at state Capitol

Allegheny Democrat discusses House bill seeking to combat domestic violence

HARRISBURG, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik, D-Allegheny, and state Rep. Natalie Mihalek, R-Allegheny, hosted a rally to combat domestic violence.

The co-hosted Putting a Stop to Domestic Violence rally took place Tuesday morning in the Capitol Rotunda and served as a platform to further discuss the issue of domestic violence, promote awareness and champion current House legislation seeking to combat domestic violence.

“The commonwealth lost more than 100 people to domestic violence in 2018,” Kulik said. “This is in no way, shape or form an issue that should be taken lightly. People are losing their lives at the hands of their partners. Today we stand together to say, ‘enough is enough.’”

Aside from discussing domestic violence awareness, Kulik also discussed H.B 588. This legislation would give judges discretion as to whether a Protection From Abuse defendant should wear an electronic monitoring device if the defendant poses a threat of violating the order.

Coined “Alina’s Law,” Kulik’s measure originated from the grisly murder of Alina Sheykhet in October 2017. Sheykhet, 20, was killed by her ex-boyfriend just shy of a month after she filed a PFA order against her former partner.

Despite her efforts to protect herself, Sheykhet was killed on Oct. 8, 2017, by Matthew Darby at her house on Cable Place in Oakland, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Police said Sheykhet suffered multiple chop and stab wounds to the head and face. Through investigative measures, police said, Darby quickly was identified as a person of interest and was arrested just a few days later, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Darby pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Sheykhet’s killing on Oct. 17, 2018. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Alina, despite her efforts, lost her life. Today we’re here to strengthen the state system to ensure her life and story isn’t just another statistic,” Kulik said.

House Bill 588 currently is in the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.