Terror in the Home: The Scourge of Domestic Violence

_DSC4179 - Version 2 A pair of tragic events has sadly reminded me of the scourge of domestic violence in our society. As a young woman I found myself in a relationship where the sudden, unexplained rage of my partner exploded in punches to my head, several times occurring while I was sleeping. These frightening events were always followed by tearful apologies and my departure from the relationship. However, time after time, the purplish bruises healed and I returned and forgave him, only to have the cycle repeat itself.

Sonia Cella is another survivor of domestic abuse, her secret revealed this week when her estranged husband, Andre Richard, age 44, attacked her and her 14-year-old daughter with a hammer after lighting the family home in Langley, British Columbia on fire. Thankfully, she escaped the blaze with her two children, her home destroyed.

Records show that Mr. Richard was charged with assault in 2009 and in February 2014, charges still before the court, and was subject to a restraining order, barring him from contact with his wife. I understand why the recent charges are pending, but can’t imagine why an assault in 2009 has not been adjudicated, some four years or more after the event.

The media reports that Ms. Cella’s ordeal this week was precipitated by her filing divorce documents in court, a step which all too commonly triggers threats of retaliation, and in some cases, leads to violence, even murder.

Across the country in Ottawa, a mother of five was beaten in her home on the same day as the B.C. incident, by her husband wielding a baseball bat. She fled the home and was found bleeding in her driveway, with her husband standing beside her, his weapon discarded. Shocked neighbours called 911.

Police officers located the bat and arrested Chris Hoare, age 44, for the attempted murder of his wife. As news of the attack spread, Hoare’s business colleagues couldn’t believe that the former president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board could have lashed out with such violence.

Early reports indicate the couple were having financial trouble, not unlike many middle-class families who creatively stretch their pay check under difficult circumstances.

But divorce and financial issues plague families all the time, so why did these two men respond with a hammer, a baseball bat, and arson?

Harvard law graduate Teresa Ou conducted research for a thesis titled “Are Abusive Men Different? Can We Predict Their Behavior?” She discovered that convicted abusers often seemed proud when they talked about kicking, slapping or biting their wives or girlfriends. Others completely denied being batterers, despite being arrested for assault.

She concluded that abusers were more anxious, irritable, moody, defensive and self-centred than the control group of non-abusers. They were also more stubborn, demanding, argumentative, suspicious and aggressive, characteristics that lead to a propensity for sudden outbursts of anger.

Yes, up to 50% of Canadian women over the age of 16 have suffered from some sort of domestic abuse. They are only too familiar with police intervention, covered bruises, overnights in tacky motels or crouched low in corners of their home to escape their attackers.

Even more frightening is that an estimated 362,000 Canadian children witnessed or experienced domestic violence in 2006, according to a UNICEF/United Nations report.

Is it any wonder that young children exposed to violence often become trapped in cycles of abuse themselves? As parents, relatives, and friends it is up to each one of us to do our part to educate and intervene.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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12 thoughts on “Terror in the Home: The Scourge of Domestic Violence

  1. Reblogged this on Thinking Out Loud and commented:
    This is an excellent post highlighting domestic violence which has to be one of the most common and secret forms of abuse. I don’t see how children who grow up and frequently witness violent assaults in their own home can fail to be affected by it, not that they will become abusers but that part of them is permanently, perhaps even subconsciously, wounded.

    1. “I don’t see how children who grow up and frequently witness violent assaults in their own home can fail to be affected by it, not that they will become abusers but that part of them is permanently, perhaps even subconsciously, wounded.”

      The violence children experience directly, primarily at the hands of their mothers, doesn’t affect them?

      1. By domestic violence I meant violent assault by parents against each other or by one or other parent against a child or children. I think that would have a lasting effect but I don’t think an abused child automatically becomes an abuser that’s quite rare I think.

        I don’t like the idea of old fashioned chastisement but it probably does no harm if its a last resort not severe and the child knows s/he has been misbehaving.

  2. Myth. Only 15% of “Domestic Violence” includes physical violence.
    Over 50% of DV is perpetrated by females on males.
    Nonetheless, the posters and stories portray black and blue women. Myth.
    Until we view this as a grown up issue, and not a feminist ideology one, the issue will remain (just as the feminist shelter-Charities want for their vile lies).
    This is NOT a gender issue … it is a criminal and genetic/social issue.
    Please stop continually posting these lies.
    Erin Pizzey – the founder of the first Women’s Shelter in the world will explain it to you if you still don’t get it.
    Hint: Look her up on Wiki.

    1. Alan Thanks for your comment. As a longtime advocate for men’s rights I agree that men are also victimized by domestic violence, which according to the new definition in B.C.’s Family Law Act includes psychological, emotional and verbal abuse. This post, however, highlights two egregious examples of attempted murder, happening on the same date. Watch for my post on male victims!

      1. When you do that post regarding male victims have a look at how court officials in my part of the world are taught to treat men in those circumstances. It’s very brief but typical of the attitudes in many jurisdictions. To rub salt into the wound if they believe the man concerned is actually a victim they’re instructed to refer him to a service that only deals with perpetrators.

        http://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/eManuals/FVBBWeb/index.htm#34578.htm

  3. Interesting post, I think Alan’s points are quite key to include when we think about DV on the whole. The last time I checked, the stats that Allan has stated were correct. There was another stat that made it quite interesting when I did some research on the subject and that was that over 70% of all cases which do involve physical violence, are started by the female. What makes it worse is that there are virtually no domestic violence shelters for men at all. I know a male friend who was in a relationship and had 2 kids. His wife used to attack him, one night she went too far after drinking and he tried to escape but there was no where to go. No shelters, and the police had previously laughed at him when he had tried to report her. In the end he did get some help but only after the woman had attacked one of the children with a golf club and broken her arm. Like Allan said this is far from a gender issue.

  4. Excellent post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

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