Domestic Violence Death Toll

First I wanted to thank Melanie of Deliberate Donkey for asking me to guest post; I was honored to be asked. I must admit I had a hard time coming up with what I was going to write about, with my blog I know what I miss I can put into the next post or if one post stinks I always have another chance to get it right. But there is a topic that I can’t stress enough and it is a matter of life and death. There seems to be a common misunderstanding among society and the victims of domestic violence and that is every one seems to forget; men that abuse women, kill women.

On average in Canada every day 6 women are murdered by their abusive significant other or ex partner.

Approximately 70% of those murders are committed just before or shortly after the woman leaves the relationship.

The actual death toll is hard to calculate because it doesn’t take into account:

– the number of suicides almost 60% of women who attempt suicide have been or are in an abusive relationship.

– deaths from things like HIV, which is higher among domestic abuse victims because in many cases the abuser is not faithful.

– Women in violent relationships are 70% more likely to have heart disease and other health issues.

– Half of the women who die on the streets reported fleeing an abusive relationship as their cause for being homeless.

Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of PTSD, depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.

Among women brought to emergency rooms due to domestic violence, most were socially isolated and had fewer social and financial resources than other women.

Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are more likely to be victims of abuse or abusers themselves and generally make poor romantic choices, have lower grades and more behavior problems.

With repercussions like that you would think society would take the problem more seriously but it is still a misunderstood problem of society. Victims are often revictimized by the very departments responsible for protecting them like the police, welfare system and courts. Even the victims themselves don’t take the repercussions seriously, I know; because I was one of those victims that refused to admit my life was in danger.

No woman wants to face the fact that the man she loves, who she thought was her soul mate; could kill her. The victim doesn’t realize the groundwork for the abuse started on the very first date and the abuser has whittled away at her self-confidence, destroying her support system and isolating her ever since.

Combine that with the fact that most friends and family get frustrated with her not leaving and with draw all support, which plays right into the abusers plans to isolate the victim and make her feel helpless and unable to leave.

No one likes to hear about abuse, victims will tell you the minute they open up about the abuse people start to minimize it, change the subject or refuse to believe it is happening at all. The abuser is an excellent actor and has studied human behavior, knows exactly what buttons to push to make the victim emotional and appear unstable and he is calm cool and collected. To the untrained person it seems the abuser is the victim or at the very least they are both at fault.

It is obvious from the people who come to my blog that support for victims of abuse is sorely lacking.

The abuser most often is enabled to continue controlling and abusing the victim because the victim’s claims of abuse are ignored and she has no back up while the abuser goes on a smear campaign to discredit her. There are horror stories of women being jailed for crimes they didn’t commit, losing custody of their children, losing everything they owned and often times women leaving an abusive relationship end up living in poverty.

With no support, no money, and the abuser promising he has changed and wants to make things right, is it any wonder the victim goes back? People are quick to criticize the victim for going back but have they been an understanding support system for the victim?

I know when I left (time after time) if I tried to discuss the abuse I heard from people;
“You must have liked it or why did you stay?” I didn’t stay…..I left and that is why I am asking you to listen to me.
“I never liked him; I knew something wasn’t right with him.” This may sound like support to the person saying it but to the victim you are saying, “What’s wrong with you, everyone else could see the guy was an abuser.”
“You should be happy to be away from him, why are you crying? How can you miss an asshole like that?” In other words, “What is wrong with you.”
“You need to get out and start dating to forget him and move on.” the victim is hearing “This is no big deal, you are over-reacting and too emotional.” exactly what the abuser has told her.

The victim often feels the abuser is the only one who truly understands her; after all he has studied her extensively and knows every soft spot and insecurity she has and uses his knowledge to manipulate the victim. The abuser will try every thing to get the victim to come back, if anger doesn’t work he will play the sympathy card and if that doesn’t work he will go back to the sweet loving guy she met; wanting to care for her. She goes back because she wants to believe him so badly, she isn’t getting the emotional and financial support she needs away from him, she doubts herself, and it is so much easier than hurting. Personally I went back more times than I can count for various reasons; I thought I loved him, I doubted myself, I felt sorry for him, I thought he had changed, I was lonely, I was broke, alone and scared. I stayed because I had gone back and didn’t want to admit I made a mistake, I was trying to save money to leave with, he was disabling my vehicle which was also my work truck and my only way to make money, I had given up fighting and had just resigned myself to the fact that this was always going to be my life. I left because if I didn’t I was sure he would kill me or I would end up killing myself. Too wait until you fear for your life is too late in most cases and if you do get away it is sheer luck.

By the time a woman leaves because she fears for her life you can bet she is an emotional basket case, she has denied her feelings and gut instincts for so long she has a hard time deciding what to eat for lunch. She doubts every feeling and reaction she has. In fact she is no longer proactive in her life but reactive; because she has spent so long being told she shouldn’t feel the way she does, she is too sensitive, too emotional, that she does nothing right and the cause of all the relationship troubles. Usually the abuser has made sure she has no resources and nowhere to go.

The costs are immeasurable to society, our children, the welfare system, lives lost, and the future security of the victims. It would be more prudent to come up with a way to prevent domestic violence than to deal with the effects of domestic violence.

So how do we solve the problem?

We have to get the girls before they start dating and we can’t leave the responsibility up to the parents; we need to teach children to set boundaries and respect themselves in elementary school even.

We teach our kids to respect others, to share and get along, say your sorry, play nice and treat others like you want to be treated. In theory that should work, if all the children are taught to follow the same rules everyone should get along great. But we aren’t taking into account and we don’t tell our children that there are evil people in the world who will use their sensitivity to manipulate and abuse them. They will only play nice with you to put you off your guard so they can take advantage of you.

How can we expect women to protect themselves if they aren’t given the tools to do so. We read them bedtime stories about a knight in shining armor who saves the princess. No one tells them that the knight in shining armor is a narcissist and he is screwing Snow White, Cinderella, and her two evil step sisters; or that he left his wife with no money and her and the kids had to move into a shoe. He even abuses his own mother who most people know as Old Mother Hubbard. Her cupboards are bare, not even a bone for the dog but she makes excuses for him and thinks the sun rises and sets on him. Women are raised to believe that if they are pretty, sweet and accommodating we will be loved and taken care of.

We also tell the girls she can work like a man and make as much money as a man, she can do anything a man can do and do it better while she has a child on her hip and stirs a pot with her other hand. So when the woman gets tired of doing it all, her knight in shining armor rides up and tells her she is everything he ever wanted in a woman and he spoils her, caters to her and seems so into her, she soak it up like a sponge.

She is so needy to feel cherished and cared for she sacrifices everything to keep her fantasy alive.

We need to teach our children, especially girls to set boundaries and stick to them. I don’t recall anyone ever talking to me about boundaries, or how to demand respect.
I didn’t even know what boundaries were when I was in my teens.

I think too much time is spent profiling the abuser and trying to figure out how he ticks and why he does what he does when we should be focusing on how we raise our daughters.

I believe that if we teach our girls to respect themselves, and how to set and stick to “deal breaker” boundaries they will have the ability to recognize abuse. When a man disregards their boundaries they will have the confidence to walk away knowing that the minute they compromise their values and boundaries they lose the battle.

When a woman compromises her boundaries she loses respect for herself,gives away her power and becomes reliant on the abuser for validation.bound


  1. Bravo , excellent post. You are right society needs to STOP trying to profile the abuser. Abusers are abusers. I agree also with the knight in shining amour, by teaching/ingraining in our children’s minds this will happen is just plain stupid. In fact my sister who has married twice and is now broke, and living with her mother. ( We have different mothers) said to me, ” If I could just find someone with money who will take care of me.” That pisses me off she has tried it twice and did not work. Her mother tells her find a man with money and a home and you will be ok. She is not going to be ok!! She is 47 years old and needs to do something for herself. She is still in story book land looking for the prince and all she has ever had was ugly abusive toads. Again you are right on with this post.

  2. Boundries are a good thing to teach. My dad used to say all the time, never let a man lay a hand on you in anger. So I didn’t. He never said anything about verbal, emotional or financial abuse. So my ex didn’t hit me, instead he told me I was nothing without him, that I was stupid and fat and ugly and no one would ever want me. After living with my mother who hated me, I believed him. So no, he didn’t hit me. I wish he would have because it’s hard to explain to people that I was abused in other ways. I was not allowed friends, to hold a job, or to have any money. So many things we should teach girls, it’s hard to teach them everything.

  3. Reblogged this on I Survived a Murder Attack — My Family Didn't and commented:

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  4. Thanks for writing and posting this Carrie. Very well written. And true.

    I agree, telling people is the worst, because of the reponses you get. It’s very sad. You’d like to think that when faced with someone desceibing being abused, that their first reaction wouldn’t be to minimize it, or pretend you haven’t said anything at all. It’s almost as if they are just as afraid of your abuser as they are. Yet, women need help.

    As much as I’ve hated and hate being in the situation I am in, I’ve given away seven copies of the ‘why does he do that’ book, the last one being to a young girl in her early twenties, who said she was excited to read it and pass it on to a friend- and I guess the bright side is, that now domestic violence is something I understand better and am in a position to make other people more aware. Because like the other commenter said, I too thought that abuse was only being physically hit, so when I was verbally and emotionally abused, shoved, held down. And lightly slapped…I knew something was very wrong….but I thought, well, he isn’t Hitting me.

    Wow. I kind of imagined that domestic violence and abuse was rare. Funny, I didn’t even realize that I was a victim for quite awhile. And yes, I think my husband is capable of killing me. So I’m gray rocking right now (gray rock theory for dealing with psychopaths) and trying to get on with my life and be safe. There needs to be more awareness. Thank you for having your blog and getting the word out there.

    I recently read about the Diane de Maio case. She was married to her her husband for 33 years, they have 3 adult children. She finally told him she was leaving and he beat her nearly to death with a baseball bat in front of her mother. And this was last week. She’s in the hospital now, fighting for her life. I hope she survives and doesn’t have brain damage. It’s serious. Really serious.

    Thank you for the statistics and writing this.

  5. missouriflower · · Reply

    My feeling is that often people don’t know what to say under such circumstances of abuse. Perhaps it’s not so much meaning to be cruel or insensitive, but nothing has ever prepared them on how to react (let’s face it, there’s also a lot of jerks out there as well!).

    I too have had to deal with abusive and violent men in my life. I tend to shut them down, and get rid of them once I see that they are no good, and only drag me down. Everyone is different!

    Recently, I saw another blogger falling apart under dire financial circumstances. At one point, I tried to comfort her, but she wasn’t having it and basically she rebuffed my efforts. A few days later, she was whining and complaining about everyone abandoning her. Well, what are you going to do? You’d like to help, but moral support is all you can offer, and they don’t want it.

    Yes, I feel bad for her, but like a lot of people I fight my own financial battles just to survive. I just did up my own budget for next month, and after paying bills, I’ll have a grand total of $13.84 to live on! $13.84 for my food, medicine, gasoline for my car, and anything else that comes up. I’ll deal with it, and count my blessings!

    Rather than getting upset about it because that’s just the way it is, I’ll be exploring all my “opportunities” available to me like without relying on a man to save me..Like you, I do better without a man in my lie than with one. I’m becoming a “pro” at working the system! I’m like a cat that always lands on its feet. LOL.

  6. […] This post originally appeared on September 19 […]

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