Stop Domestic Violence: An Action Plan for Saving Lives

Stop Domestic Violence: An Action Plan for Saving Lives

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466885219
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/11/2014
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 203
File size: 324 KB

About the Author

Lou Brown is the founder and president of the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation. His daughter, Nicole Brown System was a domestic violence victim. He lives in Dana Point, California.

Francois Dubau is a pastor in Laguna Beach, California. He is also a committed volunteer with the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation.

Merritt McKeon is a domestic violence survivor. She teaches law and volunteers at the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation. She lives in Laguna Beach, California.

Louis Brown is the founder and president of the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation. His daughter, Nicole Brown System was a domestic violence victim. He lives in Dana Point, California.
Merritt McKeon is a domestic violence survivor. She teaches law and volunteers at the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation. She lives in Laguna Beach, California.

Francois Dubau is a pastor in Laguna Beach, California. He is also a committed volunteer with the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation.

Read an Excerpt

Stop Domestic Violence

An Action Plan for Saving Lives

By Lou Brown, François Dubau, Merritt McKeon

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1997 Louis Brown, François Dubau, Merritt McKeon
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-8521-9


What Is Domestic Violence?

There is a secret war in America, and in it millions of our citizens are held hostage, beaten, threatened, and killed. A recently released U.S. Department of Justice report, based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), confirms the national problem of violence against women:

In 1992 and 1993, almost 5 million violent crimes were committed annually against women age twelve or older.

Nearly 75 percent of all lone-offender violence against women was perpetrated by someone whom the victim knew.

In 29 percent of all violence against women by a lone offender, the perpetrator was an intimate—a husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex- boyfriend.

Women annually reported 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults, almost 500,000 robberies, and about 3.8 million assaults.

An estimated 1,432 women were killed by domestic violence in 1992.

While we are learning more about it every day, one thing is clear to everyone: when dealing with any aspect of domestic violence, the first thing we are all going to need is patience.

Patience is something most people don't have much of when they first try to help someone trapped in domestic violence. Consider these words from Robin Yeamans, an attorney who has twenty-five years of experience representing battered women in California:

What I've learned over the years is to try to go at a pace that is acceptable to the battered woman, though it may seem incredibly slow to me. Some lawyers become outraged and rush to court, get restraining orders immediately, and then the woman backs off. I try to wait until the woman is firmed up enough that she'll be able to hang in there through the legal process. It's like a dance, and I can't dance fast with her if she wants to dance slow.

The other thing I've learned is not to be discouraged, or surprised, when these women reconcile [with their batterers]. I just assure them that if they want help in the future, I'll be there.

Patience is needed all around. Our society is just now awakening to the violence being done to women.

To present to you the most accurate information and statistics regarding domestic violence in America, we chose the most widely respected source: the U.S. Department of Justice and its Bureau of Justice Statistics. Here is what the Bureau itself says of its statistics: "Estimating rates of violence against women, particularly sexual assault and other incidents which are perpetrated by intimate offenders, continues to be a difficult task. Many factors inhibit women from reporting these victimizations both to police and to interviewers, including the private nature of the event, the perceived stigma associated with one's victimization, and the belief that no purpose will be served in reporting it."

One of the latest reports from the Department of Justice on violence against women, completed in August 1995, contained the following points:

1. Women age twelve or older annually sustained almost 5 million violent victimizations in 1992 and 1993.

2. About three-quarters of all lone-offender violence against women and 45 percent of violence involving multiple offenders were perpetrated by offenders whom the victim knew.

3. In 29 percent of all violence against women by a lone offender, the perpetrator was an intimate (husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend).

4. Women were about six times more likely than men to experience violence committed by an intimate.

5. Women annually reported to interviewers about 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults. Friends or acquaintances of the victims committed over half of these rapes or sexual assaults. Strangers were responsible for about 1 in 5.

6. Among victims of violence committed by an intimate, the victimization rate of women separated from their husbands was about three times higher than that of divorced women and about twenty-five times higher than that of married women. Because the NCVS reflects a respondent's marital status at the time of the interview, which is up to six months after the incident, it is possible that separation or divorce followed the violence.

7. Female victims of violence by an intimate were more often injured by the violence than females victimized by a stranger.

Violence against women perpetrated by people they knew intimately was consistent across racial and ethnic boundaries. No statistically significant difference existed between groups.

In the first few weeks after murder charges were filed against O. J. Simpson, and the world learned about his abuse of Nicole, the media suddenly discovered domestic violence. Suddenly, also, all the battered women's shelters, hotlines, and coalition groups found themselves overwhelmed with phone calls from victims desperately seeking help for the first time. All of us in America have been touched by Nicole's tragedy.

This book is a guide to saving lives. Read and share with others what you learn; you will begin to help battered women, simply by knowing how to help them. You will understand the problem, and this will go far helping to end it. The city of San Diego, California, has a program that provides this information to high school students, college students, police, attorneys, judges, and anyone else who will listen. The city's homicide rate in domestic violence cases has dropped 60 percent. Education saves lives.

How many female victims of domestic violence were victimized repeatedly? About one in five women victimized by a spouse or ex-spouse reported to the NCVS that in the last six months they had experienced three or more assaults so similar that the victim could not distinguish one from another. For assaults in general in 1992, fewer than one in ten crimes involved this type of victimization.

During the past five years, rates of rapes, robberies, and assaults committed by intimates on both male and female victims have been constant. According to the NCVS, between 1987 and 1992, the rate of violent victimizations committed by intimates varied little from the average annual rate of 5 per 1,000 for females and 0.5 per 1,000 for males. The proportion of all violence that was committed by intimates also stayed consistent, at about 27 percent of all violence against females and about 2 percent of all violence against males.

According to the NCVS, 18 percent of women raped, robbed, or assaulted by intimates faced an armed offender, compared to 33 percent of those victimized by strangers, 22 percent of those targeted by other relatives, and 21 percent of those victimized by acquaintances. When the assailant was an intimate and weapons were present, 40 percent of crimes involved knives or sharp instruments, 34 percent involved guns, 12 percent involved blunt objects, and 15 percent involved other weapons. Strangers, compared with other types of offenders, were more likely to be armed with guns.

Do you want to do something about domestic violence? Keep reading. This is the most vital first step: learning about and discussing with others the topic of domestic violence.

* * *

It takes courage to read a book of this kind. If a woman you know has given you this book to read, ask yourself some questions: Why has she given you this book? Who are you in her life? Is she reaching out to you because she needs help? Does she simply want to talk about this issue with you? Is she in a relationship right now that endangers her? Perhaps she's been hiding the battering and now is reaching out to you for help through this book. Do you have a mutual friend or relative? Perhaps she is giving you this book to read because she wants to enlist your help for that friend. Are you a man with an abusive temper? Perhaps your friend hopes you can learn something about this problem before it ruins your life and destroys your family. Before you come to any conclusions, read this book. Then ask her why she's given it to you.

Even if she is a victim, she may not want your help right now. When women are victimized by people they know, 18 percent do not report the violent victimization to police because they are afraid of worse violence from the abuser. (In contrast, only one-sixth as many women victimized by strangers fail to report the crime for this reason.) This raises the question: How many women do we know right now who are keeping domestic violence a secret?

Families and friends of victims of domestic violence often wonder what they can do to help the person they love. The more we know about domestic violence, the more we can understand the pain and isolation of the victim.

First, understand that although you may find it hard to believe that the husband or boyfriend is really being violent, most batterers have a "public face" and show their violent "private face" only to the victim, when she is trapped and there are no witnesses.

Second, when you begin to interact with a battered woman the first thing you need to do is listen to her. Listen to her without telling her what she should or shouldn't do. Just let her speak. Let her get it all out in the open. Ask only small questions to clarify what she is saying. Do not interrupt the flow of her thoughts as she is telling you what's happened to her. Be there, and be as quiet as possible. There is a great healing value in listening. You will do your friend a great service by keeping quiet. If you are in doubt as to whether you should ask her a question or not, it's usually better not to ask, just to let her talk.

Another vitally important thing is to let her know that she is not at fault. The fault is with the batterer, not with her. If she has a drug or alcohol addiction, or if he does, she can and must seek help in a Twelve Step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon (a support program for people involved with an alcoholic or addict). Of course, not all alcoholics or drug abusers are batterers, and not all batterers are drug or alcohol abusers, so AA and Al-Anon won't be for everyone. And information about them must be shared lovingly and without judgment, because even the best advice can sound like "You, the victim, are to blame" to someone in the early stages of seeking help.

How do we define domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a criminal act of assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, or other act that injures or kills a family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.

Physical or verbal abuse doesn't take place in a vacuum. A battered spouse may be controlled and terrorized by a combination of abusive tactics, not always physical acts. There is a pattern in the relationship: one of the people is the victim. In over 90 percent of cases of domestic violence recorded by the NCVS from 1987 to 1991, the victim was female.

Some things statistics cannot identify; other things are blunt, brutal, and obvious. We do know that:

• Women are not battering their husbands in epidemic proportions.

• Women are not regularly beating up their men and leaving them crouched, huddled, sobbing, and injured (or worse) on the kitchen floor.

• Men are not fleeing their homes, children in tow.

• Men are not the spouses who live in terror.

Let's enter the world of battered women. What you are about to read includes graphic language, which is necessary to make the point:

"Who is that [on the phone]!" he demands.

She ignores him, hastily whispering, "I gotta go now...."

"Gimme that phone!" he shouts. "Who was that!"

"It was someone from work."

He dials call return. It wasn't someone from work. "You sniveling, lying bitch!" he shrieks—and, yanking the phone out, throws it into the wall. "You tell me who the f——that was right now!" He advances on her, then picks up a little glass bud vase her grandmother gave her and holds it high.

"No, gimme that!" she cries.

"Who the f——was on that phone?"

She grabs his arm to save the vase, and he holds it out of her reach. Then: SMASH! The vase shatters into a thousand shards.

"You pig," she mutters, nearly inaudible.

"What'd you say? Say it again, bitch!" he screams. She crouches on the floor, attempting to scoop up glass splinters. He grabs her by the upper arm, bringing her to her feet. She wrenches her arm away; as he reaches for her again, she pushes his forearm away from her.

"I wanna know who was on that phone!" he yells down, close into her face, as she backs away.

"No one ..."

"You stupid lying cow!" he shouts, and shoves her hard enough to fling her into the corner of the wall, where she hits her head.

There are six kinds of abuse by which batterers exercise power and control over their victims. They are these:

PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: The batterer tries to frighten the victim by intimidating her, threatening to harm her or others, threatening to kidnap her, harassing her, or killing pets and destroying property.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE: The batterer undermines his victim's sense of self- worth by constant criticism, belittling, name calling, the silent treatment, subverting parent-child relationships, making and breaking of promises, and so forth.

ECONOMIC ABUSE: This includes making, or trying to make, a person financially dependent—for instance, by maintaining control over both parties' income, withholding money or access to money, keeping the victim from outside activities such as school or employment, harassing the victim at work, and requiring her to justify all money spent.

SEXUAL ABUSE: Sexual abuse is coerced (unconsenting) sexual contact—for instance, rape and beating of the sexual parts of the body, as well as forced bestiality, prostitution, unprotected sex, fondling, sodomy, sex with others, or use of pornography. Sexual abuse may also include undermining a person's sexuality with insults and unfounded accusations of infidelity. Rape in marriage is illegal, yet it happens all too often. Rape can happen if intercourse starts while the victim is asleep.

PHYSICAL ABUSE: This is hurting someone or trying to hurt her—for instance, by grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hitting, hair pulling, biting, arm twisting, kicking, punching, hitting with objects, stabbing, shooting. Other kinds of physical abuse include withholding access to resources necessary to maintain health: e.g., medications, medical care, a wheelchair, food or fluids, sleep, hygienic assistance. An abuser may also force his victim to use alcohol or drugs.

LEGAL ABUSE: The abuser may drag his victim through a vicious custody battle or an expensive court case when she leaves him. He may give her less than she deserves by law and may drag out the proceedings. He may refuse to pay court-ordered support or alimony or to turn over assets. This may sound like a typical divorce, but abusive divorces continue a pattern of abuse established in the marriage. Incredibly, the abuser often tries to win back his spouse during or after the abusive divorce. More incredibly yet, she sometimes goes back to him. (This is a part of the cycle of violence, which we will learn about in the next chapter.) The point is, the abuse does not end when the woman leaves. It can continue in another form.

General Facts About Domestic Violence

Abuse is about power and control. It often starts out with nonviolent forms of control, then escalates, when the abuser still does not feel "enough" in control (of the woman or his life or both), to physical violence. But even before that point, the relationship's power dynamics are not equal. Regardless of who first did what to whom physically, only one of the parties is the victim. Because he is rewarded (by "winning"), over time the abuser escalates the methods he uses to exert control. Before any physical violence is ever employed, the power imbalance and control are established. The situation "creeps up" on the woman, so she simply doesn't see how she is coming under tighter and tighter controls and more and more abuse.


Excerpted from Stop Domestic Violence by Lou Brown, François Dubau, Merritt McKeon. Copyright © 1997 Louis Brown, François Dubau, Merritt McKeon. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Part 1: Understanding Domestic Violence,
Chapter 1: What Is Domestic Violence?,
Chapter 2: What Makes These Men Do It?,
Chapter 3: Why Do Women Stay?,
Chapter 4: What Happens in the Violent Relationship?,
Chapter 5: What Can I Do to Help a Battered Woman?,
Chapter 6: What Is Nonphysical Abuse?,
Chapter 7: Is There a Cure for These Men?,
Chapter 8: What About Going to a Church or Temple for Counseling?,
Chapter 9: Who Speaks for Kids?,
Part 2: Letters to the Battered Woman,
Letter 1: A Domestic Violence "Thermometer",
Letter 2: Strengthening from the Inside,
Letter 3: Dealing with the Legal System,
Letter 4: Staying Sane in a Shelter,
Letter 5: Staying Safe,
Letter 6: Beginning Your Recovery,
Letter 7: Forming New Relationships,
Epilogue: Fixing the Universe,
Suggested Reading,
About the Authors,

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