I was saddened beyond words to read about the death of a neighbor. She was a single mom of two children—one a 10-year-old boy who attends a school just walking distance from my three-year-old’s preschool. According to reports, this woman and her ex-husband were in a heated custody battle that began years ago in a bitter, dragged-out divorce. The husband shot her in front of his son. He later shot himself. My heart aches for the little boy. My heart aches for the whole family. The entire story can be read here:
Sadly, domestic abuse/crimes of passion aren’t new. Divorce is bitter. It can turn even a somewhat passive person into a snarling animal if you let it. Why is it that men, especially, become violent? I wonder if it all boils down to money being spent for a woman no longer “owned”? What do you think? Do you think your ex, or soon-to-be ex, feels ownership rights over you? Is it because they have to provide child support and no longer get any “benefits”? Are we really chattel for our husbands? Even in 2012? One woman who is in the process of a divorce said her husband actually told her that she was his “property” and he was pissed to have to pay support to her when he couldn’t touch her. Ok, she’s raising their children.
Another woman in a support group said a husband pulled a gun on his wife who wanted to leave. I know all men are not like this. But when I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles years ago I was surprised, time and time again, by situations where friends and family all reacted in horror to domestic abuse against their loved one saying: “we didn’t think he’d ever do something like this.”
Sadly, domestic violence and homicide is not rare. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
There is no face or profile for someone who will snap. Divorce is scary—especially for women who have been controlled and who are now fighting to have the financial support necessary to be able to continue caring for their children. Why do so many men not understand that the money withheld from their ex-wives who are caring for children, is money withheld from their children? (The same should be said about those women who support men caring for children, but we all know that those situations are rare.)
I was chatting with Will Courtenay, Ph.D., author of Dying to be Men, about the high school shootings in Ohio. Sadly, I experienced a high school shooting that resulted in a dear friend being killed. (As the Parenting Editor for DivineCaroline.com I wrote “When Will the Senseless Shootings Stop?” about this experience.) Instead of gun control to stop these shootings, Courtenay said we needed “gender control,” as all high school shootings have been at the hands of boys. As a therapist who specializes in men’s health, Courtenay has often said that boys and men become conditioned towards violence in American society. Perhaps this topic deserves to be explored more in depth for another article?
Right now, I am thankful not to live in fear that I could be hurt while I navigate my divorce. I am so thankful my ex and I are moving forward in a positive way now. Even so, I recall violent boyfriends in the past and know how frightening it is when someone suddenly snaps and the intensity of the heated anger explodes. It’s hard to describe in words, but it’s like a flash storm and you can see it start by a look in their eyes. And trust me, those eyes look like anyone’s.
My heart aches for those of you who are living in fear as you navigate your divorce proceedings. If your ex is threatening you, please take it seriously. Check out the Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance. And just note that computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your Internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) orTTY 1−800−787−3224.
- The “FACE MY ABUSE” Domestic Violence walk (harlemworldmag.com)
- Judge tells woman to “adjust” to her husband’s domestic abuse (sarah-graham.co.uk)