Domestic Violence in the News

Hi there,

Jovan Belcher

The news has been full of the sad story of football player Jovan Belcher shooting his baby’s mother 9 times, then driving to the practice field and killing himself in front of his coaches. There has been lots of punditry surrounding football and concussions, guns, drugs and alcohol, and even mental illness, but not so much discussion of what is likely the real issue: domestic violence.  (Here’s a link to a good article I recently found about keeping yourself safe in a  domestic violence situation.)

There were plenty of clues that Belcher had anger issues with the girlfriends in his life, and it appears that the Chiefs were aware of this as they were providing counselling for him.  Professional sports is a very high testosterone universe. I have long believed that the professional sports teams, in an attempt to protect their investment in the players, have long sheltered abusers and quieted victims.  Not the same as Penn State, but not dissimilar either.

On a more positive note in the same area, Massachusetts has passed a pet protection law as part of our domestic violence protection. This is wonderful on so many levels, as women are often afraid to leave an abusive relationship without their pets because they fear (reasonably) that the abusers will turn on the animals. Children going through abuse and forced to hide in shelters are often forced to lose their beloved pets as well. Never mind the victimization of the animals which happens routinely. The first implementation of the law happened last week.  So congratulations Massachusetts, you got something else in Family Law right!