I hope you all had a terrific Fourth of July! I also hope that you were not a victim of domestic violence over a long, hot holiday weekend.
I came across some statistics for San Francisco recently which were pretty shocking. They reflected an increase in domestic violence reporting, due to a local story. However, the underlying reality of violence is probably pretty much the same everywhere. I was shocked to see in a variety of sources that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence. Neither wealth nor celebrity status prevents violence. In fact, Mr. Charles Saatchi has filed for divorce from his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, complaining that she didn’t defend him when he was photographed choking her in public.
It is not just a crime against women though. Over the years I have represented numbers of men abused by their wives. However, I was still shocked to discover that 40% of domestic violence is perpetrated against men. As a group, they are way less likely to report or even admit that they have been victims. While women are more often killed as a result of domestic violence, men are more often attacked with a weapon.
Domestic violence is also very prevalent in the gay and lesbian community. Because of the different ways it can present (more victims fight back) and be reported (often reported as a fight with 2 participants), the results for victims in the system can be less clear-cut.
There are many, many resources on the Internet with help for victims of domestic violence. However, the most important step is early self help. If you are afraid or think you are being victimized, call 911. Don’t wait, don’t make excuses for your partner, and don’t be ashamed. The longer you delay, the deeper the damage, both to you and to your children.