Domestic Violence: A primer in three parts.

I would wonder when I walked the streets after a day at work, is he one? The one with the striped oxford shirt, or maybe the guy in the seersucker shirt and flip-flops. Is he an abuser? Does he hit his wife? Does he scream obscenities at her and tell her how stupid she is? The guy in the expensive car who smiles when I roll up beside him, is he one too? Does he grab his wife by the hair and force himself on her? Does he control all of the money? Does he tell her when to come and go, does he time it when she leaves the house or check the odometer on her car?

10 years as a 9-1-1 operator told me the answer to all of those questions is yes. Abusers are rich and poor and middle class or somewhere in between. One trait they all share is that the abuser usually come across as arrogant, however they actually feel very inadequate and want to remain in control. One thing I know for sure is that domestic violence happens in every strata of society. I’ve taken calls from the wives of celebrities and police officers. No race or socio-economic class is immune.

As a 9-1-1 operator, most of the calls I took that required the police involved domestic violence. And according to the American Bar Association (ABA):

  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.

Those statistics are appalling.

What’s wrong with us? What do we need to do and say to our young boys so they don’t feel inadequate and powerless? What safeguards can we put in our educational system to let young me know that it is never okay to hit a woman?

Finally, men are not the only abusers. Coming up, women who abuse men and how to leave an abuser.

Chime in.

– Aunt B

Yes, He’s Gone Too Far. Leave Him

Hello Brenda,

I’m 19 years old. I have a son, Jesus; he is the love of my life. I am still with his dad but sometimes he goes too far and he hits me and he calls me names. Sometimes I am just too scared of him and I feel as if he controls me. When he is around his family he treats me like sh*t to show off in front of them. I tell him to stop and he just doesn’t listen.

This is not the first time he has done it. I just don’t know what to do any more…. like if we get mad at each other because I did wrong or if he hits me I say to myself to leave him and later like in 20 minutes I am happy with him. And later on he will do it again.

I am just so tired of it and worst of all the baby sees it. I just don’t know what to do anymore please help me.

Dear I-am-just-so-tired-of-it
,

I once worked as a 9-1-1 operator in a large city. I spoke with women like you every hour of every day. I began to memorize their voices through clenched teeth or swollen lips and would try to tell them just what I’m about to tell you right now.

  • The number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Translators are available.
  • Someone that loves you doesn’t hit you or call you names.
  • Having your child see his father hit you or hear him call you names is child abuse.
  • You don’t have to live with someone controlling you, hitting you or calling you names.

While the police were on the way, some would hang up before I could finish, or the phone would be snatched from the wall or thrown or they would be hit again. If I could’ve talked to them longer I would’ve told them this:

  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline number and ask them to help you make a plan to leave. 1-800-799-7233.
  • As you make your plan, tell only one person. Let them know that they have your life in their hands. The most dangerous time is when the abuser (your child’s father) loses his power (over you).
  • Leaving will not solve all of your problems.
  • You are not worthless.
  • You are not harming your child by leaving
  • None of this is your fault.

“Leaving an abusive partner is a very difficult thing to do. It frequently feels like you are failing, or destroying your family, or not trying to work things out, or not giving your partner “a second chance.” It hurts, and it’s scary.” – Blaine Nelson

This is going to be a bumpy ride. Hang on.

– Brenda

PS

Kiss Jesus for me.