You may have read a Tweet by Sheriff Mollenhauer that LaPorte County had 3 homicides in 2009 - all the result of domestic violence. There were two separate incidents. In one, the estranged husband shot and killed his wife and her alleged boyfriend. He is now in the jail facing murder charges. The other resulted in a woman being shot to death, while sitting in her car with the couple's kids sitting in the backseat. The man committed suicide a short time later.
This makes me sick. Yes, LaPorte County has a problem...just like the rest of the nation. Eleven percent of the current inmate population in the LaPorte County Jail is being held for some type of violent crime that could be related to domestic violence. These charges include domestic violence (10), battery, intimidation, sexual battery, trespass, invasion of privacy (violation of a protective order) and murder (2 domestic related - one from 2008 that is still pending). Admittedly, I would have to do several hours of research to have truly accurate stats, but this gives you some idea of the violent society in which we live. Keep in mind that these are the ones that have been arrested. We have warrants for others, and what is huge, it is speculated that there are many, many, many domestic violence crimes that go unreported.
Here are some stats:
- Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her family.
- Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury to women - more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
- Everyday in the U.S., more than three women are murdered by their husbands.
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the U.S. alone - the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
- Read this: Based on report from 10 countries, between 55% and 95% of women who had been physically abused by their partners never reported the incident to anyone.
As I said. Domestic violence is a "HUGE" problem.
The reasons that domestic violence goes unreported are many. Many victims stay because:
- The victim fears losing her children, or that they will be abused by the abuser if she leaves.
- The victim may not have the financial resources, access to alternative support or skills to secure a job.
- Religious beliefs.
- Friends and family may not support the victim's leaving.
- The victim may have grown up with violence and considers it "normal".
- The victim may not want the relationship to end.
- The victim may feel shame about being abused and reluctant to let anyone know.
- The victim may not know who to turn to for help.
- There may be language barriers that prevent seeking help or independence, or the victim may fear being deported.
Abuser psychological control of the victim and the victim's fear play a big part in the victim staying. You have to keep in mind that domestic violence causes severe emotional and psychological trauma as well. The victim often feels isolated and helpless. Leaving the situation is harder than one may think.
The warning signs of an abusive relationship can be:
- Verbal Abuse - The abuser puts down the victim by calling her names, constantly criticizing her, provoking public or private humiliation, or making her feel "crazy".
- Bruises and injuries - The victim often has bruises and injuries that can't be explained, or offers weak excuses for them.
- Violent Temper - The abuser has threatened to hurt the victim, her children, family members, friends or pets. The abuser blames the victim and other people for everything, and gets angry in a way that scares her or other people.
- Controlling Behavior - The abuser checks up on the victim constantly by asking about her whereabouts, calling her at work or on her cell phone, checking her car mileage and listening to her phone calls. The abuser manages all the finances and monitors her spending.
- Extreme Jealousy - The abuser acts jealous or possessive, often accusing the victim of flirting or having affairs.
- Isolation - The abuser tells her not to see certain friends or family members, keeps her away from school or work and makes her stay home when she wants to go out.
- Emotional Changes - The victim seems to be on edge or fearful, or becomes quiet when the partner is around.
- Behavior of the Children - The children of an abuse victim frequently get into trouble at school or are quiet and withdrawn and don't get along with other children.
If you know someone that fits this description contact someone. You may save a life. At the very least you may make someones life much more pleasant.
If you are a victim, please get help.
Here is some local contact information:
- Victim's Advocates: LaPorte - 325-9160, Michigan City - 874-5611 ext. 7808, LaPorte County - 326-6808 ext. 342 or 873-7014 ext. 342
- Stepping Stone Shelter for Women: 879-4615 or 1-800-248-1151
- Women's Care Center: 874-4646 or 324-4646
- Dept. of Child Services: 326-5870 or 879-5351
- Dunebrook Parent Information Center: 874-0007 or 1-800-897-0007
Contact your local police department 24 hours per day. Just dial 9-1-1. Please do not be afraid to call.
Thank you to the Avon Foundation for these statistics and information, much of it word-for-word, as taken from their publication "You ARE NOT Alone". Go to www.avonfoundation.org for more information.