Found at the scene of the crime two dead bodies stabbed brutally, and left to die at their house. This was the story that shocked the country in 1991. This was the start of the O.J. Simpson domestic abuse case that is still going on today. Unfortunately events like this happen many times over everyday in many setting all over the United states; however the victims of the other cases don't get nearly as much publicity.
Some facts about domestic abuse
An average of nine out of 10 women have to be turned away from shelters on.
The reason so few cases get assigned initially is the police usually don't have enough officers to meet the demand
At the Portland Women's Crisis Line, where calls have doubled since the killings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, they welcome the increased attention.
From July 19,through March 31, 1993 a total of 3,665 domestic violence cases were reviewed in Portland Oregon. Of those, only 281 cases resulted in some action taken against the accused abuser. Some of this is because there is not enough police, but it is mostly because the abused person is scared.
for the last six months of 1993 and the first three months of 1994 Portland averaged about 1,000 calls each month or 12,000 calls a year.
In January 1992, 30 criminal domestic violence complaints were issued. For January 1994, the number was more than 100.
Nationally, estimates range from 2 to 4 million women assaults each year.
Some studies show that 20 to 30 percent of all women who seek help at hospital emergency rooms are there because of domestic violence.
Kyra Woods never made it to the emergency room. Whoever killed her saw to that. She suffered 13 stab wounds to the back five of them so violent the knife came out the other side of her body.
Wood's mother, Mable, and two aunts wept quietly in a back row of the courtroom as the prosecution argued against bail for Woods' former boyfriend Jackson. Rod Underhill, the prosecutor, painted a picture of domestic violence. He told of a dramatic moment after the killing, when Woods' 4-year-old son, holding a teddy bear, re- enacted the attack. "He put his hands around the neck of the bear and shook it," Underhill said. "He began to pound it with a closed fist and slug it."
Mable Woods said that her daughter never told her much about any abuse. Neighbors, however, told police of hearing the couple fight violently. According to police reports, one neighbor said, "They fought so hard the pictures on the wall shook back and forth."
Jackson has pleaded innocent. His attorney, Angel Lopez, points out that no murder weapon has been found. He said the account from the 4-year-old boy could not be matched with any others, and he pointed out inconsistencies in the boy's statements. Bail was denied.
Jackson was accused of killing his former girlfriend, Kyra Woods, by stabbing her 13 times. His bail hearing normally would have merited little public attention. What brought out the cameras and reporter was the Simpson case.
Children are often the unseen victims of domestic abuse. they see one of their parents being harmed and this leads to high stress. Boys tend to be much more hostile when raised in a broken home. They are also ten times more likely to be abusive when they grow up. Girls raised in an abusive family tend to be very shy and afraid of boys. When they grow up they are 50 times more likely to marry an abusive husband.
The effect of domestic abuse on society is negative, but unfortunately it does not get much publicity unless it involves a figure that is well known such as O.J. Simpson. Another sad thing is that people often shrug off domestic abuse calling it a personal matter because they don't want to get involved or they are afraid of what people will think about them
Survivors have found the emotional strength to break from their abusers through different means: a hot-line number remembered from a restroom wall, a wallet card of crisis numbers from a pediatrician who would not overlook a mother's black eye. A grown child begging her mother to flee--and a shelter with an open bed.
The women, some with their identities changed to protect their privacy, talked about shame, guilt, fear of triggering even greater violence, low self-worth, isolation, embarrassment, numbing depression, concern for children, foiled escapes, a unrealistic sense of reality, a walking-on-eggshells existence and, perhaps above all, an illogical hope that something would change.
"the abuser can make everything sound so good," says Florence A. Reid, 45, now living in transitional housing through Bradley- Angle House after 10 years in a violent marriage and another 13 year relationship, in an abusive relationship both with men who were full of promises after the pummelings.
Even now, 25 years later, after dozens of broken ribs, a broken jaw, pushes downstairs, and out a car, and thrice-weekly bouts with her husband sometimes drunk, sometimes sober--kicking with his work boots as she lay on the floor; even now, Reid has pipe dreams of living happily with this teen-age love, of sitting on a front porch and talking about the old days.
"Wouldn't that be nice?" asks Reid. "Just live a normal life with the father of my children."
"The first time I tried leaving my husband was 1972. I took the kids to a friend's house," she remembers. "He found me and brought a gun with him. Of course, I just went back."
In 1992, after dozens of tries, Ruth left for the last time, with the help of a daughter, and ended up at West Women's & Children's Shelter.
Ruth, who now works part-time at a bank, sighs. "I don't know. For years, my excuse was the kids. And of course, I realize that was probably the worst thing I did for them. And I always thought, `Things will get better if I do this.'"
Other women clung to similar fantasies, sure the goodness and charm would return--if they could love him better, do everything right.
When someone abuses another person they often have a certain attitude such as thinking that it is the abused persons fault and that they brought it upon themselves. extensive studies have shown this. The abuser often blames the person who was abused for their troubles. Abusers often have a hard time communicating.
Unfortunately the abuser is rarely gets action taken against them. But when they do it is often very serious. The least that could happen is that the abuser gets a restraining order. In more serious cases there can be a number of penalties ranging from short prison term to a life sentence.
This is the information that I found when I looked up domestic abuse. As you can see some of these facts are rather grim but people are becoming more open to ideas and people are reporting more than ever. I hope that this stops being the most un reported crime in the United States so that we can get the problem under control.
The Homepage of the Committee Against Family Violence
NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE webpage
Bibliography: Breiner, S., Slaughter of the Innocents (1990); deMause, L., The History of Childhood (1988); Kempe, H., and Helfer, R., The Battered Child, 4th ed. (1987); Kempe, Ruth S. and C. Henry, Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents (1984); Moorehead, C., ed., Betrayal (1990); Wexler, R., Wounded Innocents (1990).
Metro Nashville Police Department
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