Stumbled across this article on the Huffington Post. Pretty crazy statistics.
By: Nancy Van Tine
On March 6, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law. The topic has been in the news often lately with the passage of the new VAWA in February by the House and the Senate, and the story of the reporter and his wife in Connecticut.
While the act encompasses more crimes than domestic violence it is
domestic violence that is the most insidious. Despite stories of this
kind being commonplace, it seems that only when celebrities are involved
in these situations that they are considered newsworthy.
In researching this article I came across a mind boggling statistic:
Three women are killed in the United States every day because of
domestic violence. That statistic does not account for the thousands of
non-fatal attacks, most of which are not reported. All 50 states have
laws designed to protect victims. However the victim must be proactive;
they must call 911, she (or he
- by no means are victims only female) must decide to follow through
with the criminal case, with the protective order, and in some cases,
with the divorce. None of this is easy.
Simplistically, victims can be described as falling into two
categories. First, there are those who end the relationship at the
first instance of violence, like the woman in this series of graphic pictures. Then there are the victims who return to batterers and begin the dance
that can end with serious injury or death. This dance continues,
sometimes for years with the batterer vicious, controlling and brutal
then sweet and remorseful in a spiraling cycle. In this cycle, the
victim typically becomes increasingly codependent and leaving becomes
harder and harder.
This is a serious problem across the entire socioeconomic spectrum.
I think that sometimes the wealthier the family, the more economic
control the batterer has, and perhaps the victim has more sense of shame
at allowing the battering to continue. Also, wealthy batterers can
afford to continue the abuse in the legal system. I have often been
told by female clients that her husband will break her in the divorce process, and then we see him try to do just that. The divorce process
ordinarily is bad enough for the litigants, but when one of them is bent
on destruction it becomes much worse emotionally, and much, much more
However, the cost of the process is not worth the cost of a woman's - or
man's - life. It is better to get out than to stay. As that
of photos documenting a night of domestic violence reveals, kids get
involved. They hear the fights, try to intervene and often get beaten
All divorce lawyers have had to cope with clients who have returned,
often repeatedly, to batterers. This is hard to handle, but it is worse
when there are kids involved. The harm to children from being involved
in or exposed to domestic violence has been well documented.
Massachusetts, for example, requires the courts to consider if there
are any domestic violence issues when setting parenting time. In fact,
the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts considers
domestic violence cause for removing kids from their mom if she fails to
leave the batterer.
Domestic Violence breeds more domestic violence.
It is quite clearly defined that daughters of violence grow up to be
victimized, and sons of violence grow up to be batterers in higher
percentages than children who have not been exposed. This is a crime
where the damage is clearly generational, and the VAWA reminds us of
this. Prosecution of these crimes is hard because so many victims
recant. But it is necessary for current and future victims to end the
ongoing cycle of violence.