One of the worst tragedies in our society today is that of domestic violence. One of the most surprising statistics that you can find if you look is that every 37.8 seconds there is a man being physically abused. This is surprising because the research seems mostly to concern itself with women victims and it is generally known that there is a woman being abused just as frequently if not more so. There is no formula for why it happens. Yes there are common risk factors and those will be examined but even if all the risk factors exist in a household there is no guarantee that physical violence will happen. Conversely, even if none of the risk factors are present there is no guarantee that violence will not happen. Anyone can be a perpetrator. Anyone can be a victim. Anyone can be accused too – if you find yourself in this situation you will want to consult a defense attorney as quickly as possible.
One of the more common risk factors is that if a child witnesses or is the victim of domestic violence while growing up it is possible that they will grow up to become a perpetrator or victim themselves. The reason for this is that as we all know children need role models. The most accessible role model are the child’s own parents. In fact, they cannot help but use them as such. It seems to be wired into their makeup. This can of course be either positive or negative. If a child grows up watching one parent hit the other parent their young psyche, even if they do not know it, will come to believe that that is how one treats the opposite sex. If they are the same gender as the perpetrator they will grow up thinking that violence towards the opposite sex is acceptable or perhaps even expected. If they are the same gender as the victim they may grow up thinking that they should also accept like treatment. It is usually advised that people with such a background would be wise to look into counseling so that the pattern can stop with them. Whether they feel fear, pain or anger over their past they do generally know that it was tragic and would prefer not to continue a vicious cycle.
An obvious risk factor of a potentially violent relationship is if one of the partners has been violent in the past towards other partners. People can change but it takes work. Have you ever noticed about yourself, especially if you have ever tried to break a habit or start a new activity, that it is so easy and so tempting just to go back to what has been your usual routine in the past? That is the truth of human nature. So it is true of those who have done violence in the past. If you have a partner that has been violent in the past it is not an automatic guarantee that the behavior will be repeated but it would be wise to remain aware and alert.
Most, if not all, relationship or marriage counselors say that the most common arguments between couples are money related. Arguments lead to fights and fights may lead to violence if either partner is so inclined. So, is it any surprise that poverty, extreme low income, unemployment and underemployment are all listed as high risk factors for domestic violence. These circumstances are usually caused by uncontrollable events. That does not mean they have to be accepted as the status quo. Whether it means going back to school or hitting the job market it would be best to try to get out of this situation.
Another unsurprising risk factor is if either or both partners have an alcohol or drug problem. Overuse of any mind altering substance can lead to behavior that otherwise the person would never consider. Could this include violence? Of course it could. Will the person be sorry when they sober up? Generally but the damage will have been done and considering that the person had used something that made them act differently than they would. The same is true of mental illness which is another high risk factor. The sweetest lady or gentlest man can turn into a monster in the face of an untreated mental illness. The good news for sufferers of alcoholism, drug addiction or any mental illness is that there are places designed to nonjudgmentally provide the help you need.
These are some of the risk factors for domestic violence along with a suggestion for a protective or preventive measure. But what if you are currently facing an accusation of domestic violence yourself? You need legal counsel and you need your rights defended. Call or e-mail the law office of Smith & White, PLLC – your free case analysis awaits you.
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