It seemed as though Adrienne Basciano was doing everything right. Adrienne, who found herself in a volatile relationship with boyfriend Robert Reza, found the courage to end the relationship about a year ago. Having told her close friends and family that she was “scared of him”, she must have felt a sense of relief once he moved out of their shared home and away from their twin 5 year old boys. Adrienne, trying to protect her children, found herself in a bitter custody battle with Reza, a fight that recently turned deadly.
On July 21, Robert Reza arrived at Adrienne’s place of business, a solar manufacturing plant called Emcore in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Reza stormed through his former workplace without provocation or warning, shot his first victim and continued on a spree that left three dead and two injured. Robert found Adrienne in the employee break room where she was shot several times as she lay helpless. Three others were eventually shot and wounded before Reza pointed the gun towards his head and killed himself. It is said to be the worst mass murder-suicide in New Mexico’s history.
While often viewed as a private matter, domestic violence isn’t isolated to the ‘domestic realm’ and doesn’t stay home when its victims go to work. With nearly one-third of American women (31%) reporting being physically or sexually abused by a partner, it should not be a surprise that in any mid-to-large sized company, domestic violence is affecting employees and a company’s bottom line. In fact, a study of domestic violence survivors found that 74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while at work. Also, domestic violence costs companies more than $735 million every year
There is no way to predict the irrational actions of an abuser, but as far as I am concerned, it is better to be safe than sorry. We must prepare for the worst in order to prevent similar situations from occurring. Business leaders must begin to consider the notion that the work place is not immune to acts of domestic violence, and view it as a serious, recognizable, and preventable problem that not only impacts the company’s bottom line but the very lives of employees.