Valentine fun fell a little flat for most people this year. We had to digest news of the Florida school shooting on 2/14 as well as reports of 9 police murders taking place between 2/5 and 2/21.
Our nation is locked in debate about about gun control and school safety. I pray these matters resolve well soon! Meanwhile the problem of police shootings has slipped beneath the radar.
Twenty-one police officers died in the line of duty across our nation this year. Six were murdered by perpetrators of domestic violence:
- Detective Michael Doty (York SC, d. 1/16)
- Officer Anthony Doss, Jr (Detroit MI, d. 1/28)
- Officer Eric Joering (Westerville OH, d. 2/10)
- Officer Anthony Morelli (Westerville OH, d. 2/10)
- Officer Justin Balli (Toulminville AL, d. 2/20)
- Corporal Mujahid Ramzzidin (Brandywine MD, d. 2/21).
Most of these men left behind a wife and children. It’s time for domestic violence control!
The Danger of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence calls are among the most dangerous for police. Officers face a tactical nightmare when they enter someone else’s “castle” where only the occupants know the lay of the land.
More police die responding to domestic violence calls than any other type of 911 emergency. Lt. Dan Marcou of the Blue Knights says “anyone who will kill the people they love will kill police without blinking an eye.”
Women and children also fare badly in domestic disputes. Over half of the 10,000+ women killed in the US each year die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner. The 1.5 million US children who annually witness domestic violence are at risk of personal injury, psychological problems and becoming abusive themselves.
The Course of Violent Relationships
Relationships don’t start out abusive. They begin with romance. Abusers woo their partners with kindness until they feel secure. Then they test the waters with a little disrespect here and a minor push there. Next they apologize and wait to see what happens.
If nothing bad happens and the target of their aggression hangs around, abusers strike again. They are notoriously jealous and often:
- Isolate victims from friends and family
- control all the money
- make all the decisions
- belittle their victims
- keep victims from working or going to school
- blame victims for their own bad behavior
- destroy property
- shove, slap, choke and hit
- intimidate with weapons
- threaten to kill pets, their victims and/or themselves
Over time aggressions become more frequent and more severe. Apologies disappear from the escalating cycle of tension and violence and the risk of death gradually becomes real.
Pregnant women face a particularly high risk of abuse and even death. Violent relationships are most likely to end in death when:
- a victim leaves or attempts to leave
- the abuser is depressed
- the level of violence has increased
- the abuser has threatened to kill
- the abuser becomes obsessive and stalks the victim
Ending Violent Relationships
Dangerous relationships end when victims find support and safety and abusers get in-depth psychological help. Victims are at the greatest risk of being killed when they attempt to leave so this step should only be undertaken with support and careful planning. For help with this click here.
Domestic Violence and You
You probably know someone affected by domestic violence. A quarter of American women have experienced assault by an intimate partner (and 7% of men). Domestic violence happens in every socioeconomic and education level – not just in bad neighborhoods among obviously dangerous people. Note that:
- Westerville OH (Officers Joering & Morelli d. 2/11) is one of the nicest suburbs of Columbus
- Residents of York SC (Detective Doty d. 1/16) thought their neighbor living in a nice house with his family “real nice” until he shot four policemen
- David Sorenson and Rob Porter resigned prestigious White House positions this month over charges of domestic violence
Abuse escalates over time so act quickly when domestic violence occurs. It’s the loving thing to do (Gal 6:2). Here are a few safe ways to help:
- call the police when you see/hear abuse happening
- ask victims if they’re safe and need someone to talk to
- offer a ride to a local shelter or baby-sit so a victim can go in person
- call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233)
- hold batterers accountable for their behavior
- support batterer efforts to get help (Futures Without Violence)
Evil thrives when good people do nothing (Rms 12:21). I hope you will do something to help if you see or hear of domestic abuse anywhere around you. You could possibly save a life.
Please share this post with anybody you know facing the problem of domestic violence.
Meanwhile stay safe. Keep your eyes and ears open and thank a police officer for their service.