With the explosion of internet dating and the old tried-and-true “I met him at a bar”, women have every reason to be cautious about who they hook up with. Certainly, if they are not, they are taking an enormous chance that their new boyfriend has a past that would scare even a female wrestler.
Sadly, domestic violence in dating relationships is rampant. Studies show that domestic/dating violence is experienced by 25% of women worldwide and is the leading cause of injury to women, far outpacing car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
While women are the predominant victims, 15% of intimate partner violence victims are men. Research also tells us that in 70-80% of domestic homicides, no matter which partner is killed, these tragic events were preceded by domestic violence in the relationship.
It took one such murder to galvanize lawmakers in England and Wales who recently enacted “Clare’s Law”.
Clare Wood, 36, was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, at her home in Manchester in 2009. Clare, a single mom, met George on Facebook, completely unaware of his atrocious history of violence against women, including multiple harassments, threats, and the knifepoint kidnapping of a former girlfriend.
After her death, Clare’s father, Michael Brown, vigorously lobbied for new laws to assist women like his daughter, resulting in the enactment of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme this month.
This new program provides information, upon request to the police, about a partner’s previous history of violence. A pilot project testing the new law saw 100 people in four police areas access potentially life-saving information.
It is hoped that this legislated “right to know” will help women make informed decisions about who they let in their lives.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang