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Divorce and Intimate Partner Violence: How to Know If You're at Risk of Being Stalked, Harmed, or Killed

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational psychologist committed to uplifting and educating others to be reach their full potential.

When Love Turns Dangerous

Intimate partner violence includes controlling behavior, physical and sexual violence, and psychological abuse.  Understand your risk so you can stay safe.

Intimate partner violence includes controlling behavior, physical and sexual violence, and psychological abuse. Understand your risk so you can stay safe.

From Commitment to Betrayal to Threats of Murder/Suicide

Don't lull yourself into believing that domestic or intimate partner violence could never happen to you. Below, I've changed the names involved for privacy, but this story is real.

Sarah could be your neighbor or best friend. She could be your coworker or daughter. Or she could be you.

Are You at Risk for Violence?

My interest in this topic is deeply personal. Not because I face intimate partner violence myself but because someone very close to me does. The divorcing young mother lives in fear that the father of her three young children will carry out his threats. Her experience has encouraged me to inform others like her regarding the risks.

What Is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reader Poll

She Could Be You

Sarah is a respected professional, a loyal friend and relative, and an involved mother of three young children. But she's also the divorcing spouse of a mentally ill man who has threatened murder/suicide.

He Wasn't a Great Catch After All

On the surface, Jack, her husband of more than 15 years, seemed to be a great catch: a senior executive, a Boy Scout leader, a devout Christian, and a committed family man. He had been raised by a severely mentally ill mother and alcoholic father, but his traumatic beginnings in life seemed far away.

Sarah believed Jack to be a good husband, father, and member of the community. Never mind that for years, people in their social circle whispered that he was "creepy" or that something just didn't sit right about him. Never mind that a bipolar relative keenly remarked about Jack that "it takes one to know one." Or that Jack himself struggled with alcoholism and serial job loss, and he was often the source of unnecessary conflict.

Sarah had been his biggest champion until she couldn't do it any longer. When it comes to love and marriage, people often go "all in." That's what the vow is about, right?

Sudden Crisis

After an unusually difficult work week, Jack handed his cell phone to Sarah. On the line was his mental health counselor, suddenly alerting Sarah that Jack needed to go to the emergency room for a suicide threat.

Sarah later learned that Jack was also having intrusive thoughts of killing both her and at least one of their children. Newly diagnosed as bipolar, Jack was hospitalized for nearly two weeks and took an extended leave of absence from work. He was released to Sarah's care by the mental hospital and attended National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) support groups and therapy sessions.

Outrageous Behavior

While trying to keep the family finances in order—something that Jack had previously managed—Sarah discovered that her husband had liquidated a previous 401(k) account without her knowledge. Almost $200,000 in retirement savings had simply vanished. She learned that he had also stopped paying bills in her name and had long ceased all contributions to their children's 529 college plans.

Credit card statements showed that the couple was in deep financial distress and that Jack had been a regular visitor to strip clubs and related establishments. At work, he was again at risk of losing his job due to poor performance. At home, he lashed out angrily at his family.

More than one-third of women who are killed are murdered by intimate partners.  Research shows that a key driver in such violence is access to guns.

More than one-third of women who are killed are murdered by intimate partners. Research shows that a key driver in such violence is access to guns.

Danger Mounts

If only his deception had been strictly financial in nature. Sarah discovered dubious charges for a storage shed, plus frequent cash advances and ATM withdrawals amounting to sometimes thousands of dollars daily. In the storage shed, Jack had stockpiled guns and accessories (e.g., a rifle scope) and a massive amount of ammunition and cash, along with a backpack. He couldn't explain what the contents of the shed were for.

Moreover, since his release from the mental hospital, Jack had secretly spent several hours each day at a local shooting range—something he had never done before. He even left his day treatment therapy at lunch to practice his shooting, then returned for afternoon sessions. Not wanting to return to work, Jack also reiterated his threats of bodily harm.

Divorcing and Now Living in Fear

Sarah moved her troubled husband out of the house and into a room-for-rent living situation, changing the locks to their house. The 401(k) liquidation alone triggered more than $50,000 in federal income taxes to the IRS if they filed jointly. Instead, she filed taxes separately to protect herself from further financial ruin and petitioned the court for both divorce and child custody.

As legal proceedings advance, Jack's job situation further deteriorates. His job loss is imminent. Sarah lives with her small children in the house that they once shared, unaware if her angry estranged husband will make good on his threats of violence. She is coming to grips with the fact that Intimate Partner Violence has turned her life upside down.

Intimate Partner Violence: Let Go Of the Stigma and Seek Help

Survivors of intimate partner violence like Sarah are sometimes reluctant to acknowledge the realistic threat and label it for what it is. They may be hesitant to disclose their victimization for a variety of reasons, including

  • shame and embarrassment
  • fear of retaliation from perpetrators, or
  • a belief that they may not receive support from law enforcement.

IPV began to receive the public visibility that it deserves on account of several high-profile stalking cases in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As a result, a federal law—The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA)—was enacted which has drastically enhanced law enforcement's response to IPV.

If Sarah's story sounds familiar to you, then for safety's sake please let go of the stigma. Recognize the risk, and seek the help you need. Following is information on what IPV includes, prevalence, risk factors, and recommended action steps.

What Is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) includes any completed act of violence or threatened act of violence that takes place between individuals who are currently or formerly involved in an intimate relationship (e.g., sexual, dating, marital, or co-habitation1

It can also include violence between partners whose relationship is not sexual. IPV is distinguished from the broader term "domestic violence" in that domestic violence also encompasses child abuse, elder abuse, and abuse towards family members such as siblings.

Such violence can occur between heterosexual or same-sex couples. Violence between same-sex couples tends to occur at the same frequency and severity as heterosexual couples.2

While IPV cuts across all socioeconomic groups, the risk is highest among women who are immigrants, poor, multiracial or disabled. Both women and men can be the targets of IPV, however studies show that women are far more likely to be victimized, harmed or killed.3

The risk of IPV is serious, as more than one-third of all female murder victims die at the hands of intimate partners.4 Every day in the United States, this amounts to three women who are killed by their partners.

Know your risk of intimate partner violence.  Your life and the lives of your children may depend on it.  For help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Know your risk of intimate partner violence. Your life and the lives of your children may depend on it. For help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Prevalence Of Stalking and Violence by Intimate Partners

Source: CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

Prevalence in the United States

More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

One in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime.

74 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner. Of these, most of the murder victims (96%) were women.

Understand the Types of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Forms of IPV include not only completed acts of violence such as punching, hitting, beating, and sexual coercion but also a variety of threats of harm. These acts can include physical as well as sexual violence.

In addition, IPV perpetrators may use controlling behaviors such as limiting their partner's access to financial, education, or medical resources or isolating their partner from family and friends.

Emotional or psychological abuse is another common form of IPV and includes insults, humiliation, threats of harm, threats to take away pets or children, and stalking.

Stalking

Stalking tends to disproportionately impact younger victims, particularly women ages 18-24. It encompasses a variety of obsessive behaviors: physical surveillance, unwanted phone calls or other communication with the victim, property invasion or destruction, or even proxy stalking (having others "keep an eye" and report back regarding the victim).5

One study found that 78% of stalkers used more than one surveillance method.6 In inflicting fear upon their victims, perpetrators commonly employ text messages, social media, emails, phone calls, monitoring technology like "nanny cams" and GPS devices, and other people.

Unfortunately, stalking by an intimate partner tends to escalate rapidly, with two-thirds of stalkers contacting their victim at least once a week. Further, prior stalking is predictive of future stalking; about one-third of stalkers have stalked before.

Getting a protective order may stop stalking behavior in as many as 65% of cases. However, that means the remaining 35% or so continue to do so even after a protective order is issued.

Types of Intimate Partner Violence

Sources: World Health Organization, American Psychological Association

Type of Intimate Partner ViolenceExamples

Physical Violence

slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, beating, shoving

Sexual Violence

rape and other forms of sexual coercion

Psychological Abuse

insulting, belittling, constantly humiliating, intimidating, making threats of harm, threats with a weapon or threats to take away pets or children

Controlling Behaviors

isolating a partner from family and friends, monitoring their whereabouts and behavior, restricting access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care

Why Don't Abused Partners Just Leave?

It's important to understand and offer help to victims rather than blame them for staying in an unhealthy relationship for too long. They need your support, not your judgment.

fear of retaliation

concern for their children

fear of losing child custody in a divorce

lack of alternative economic resources

lack of support from family and friends

hope that the partner will change

shame and embarrassment

belief that the police won't believe or help them

not understanding the gravity of the danger

IPV cuts across all socioeconomic groups; men can be victims, too.  However, IPV risk is highest among women who are immigrants, poor, multiracial or disabled.

IPV cuts across all socioeconomic groups; men can be victims, too. However, IPV risk is highest among women who are immigrants, poor, multiracial or disabled.

Are You At Risk Of Intimate Partner Violence?

Screening for IPV is best conducted by a mental health professional. Although a variety of research-based screening tools are used, there is no one accepted screening tool.7

IPV screening tends to focus on a combination of individual factors as well as relationship factors. Individual factors refer to characteristics of the abuser and his past experiences. They include the perpetrator's childhood background, mental health, use of violence in previous relationships, and access to a weapon.

Relationship factors examine behavior interaction patterns between the perpetrator and victim. Because past behavior is a strong predictor of future behavior, you may be asked about the following:

  • an increase in severity or frequency of physical violence over the past year
  • an increase in specificity of threats
  • whether your partner has ever forced you to have sex when you didn't want to
  • if he controls/monitors your daily activity and if their is a pattern of possessive, obsessive and jealous behavior; and
  • whether he has beaten you while you were pregnant, has issued threats to kill you or has threatened you with a weapon in the past.

Risk Factors For Becoming A Victim or Perpetrator

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control NOTE: Some risk factors for becoming a perpetrator or victim are the same. Others are interrelated. Not everyone who demonstrates risk factors is involved in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Individual Risk FactorsIndividual Risk FactorsRelationship Risk Factors

Low self-esteem

Unemployment

Marital conflict (i.e., fights, tension, and other struggles)

Low income

Belief in strict gender roles (e.g., male dominance and aggression in relationships)

Marital instability (history of divorces or separations)

Low academic achievement

Emotional dependence and insecurity

Dominance and control of the relationship by one partner over the other

Young age

Desire for power and control in relationships

Economic stress

Aggressive or delinquent behavior as a youth

Being a victim of previous physical or psychological abuse

Unhealthy family relationships and interactions

Heavy alcohol and drug use

History of experiencing poor parenting as a child

 

Anger and hostility

History of experiencing physical discipline as a child

 

Depression

Prior history of being physically abusive

 

Borderline personality traits

Prior history of perpetrating psychological aggression

 

Antisocial personality traits

Having few friends and being isolated from other people

 

College students are at higher risk of stalking than other women.

College students are at higher risk of stalking than other women.

What to Do About Intimate Partner Violence

While each situation is different, here are tips for what to do regarding intimate partner violence:8,9

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Don't underestimate the risk. Take all threats seriously. If you feel unsafe, you probably are.
  • Identify your partner's triggers and pattern of violence so you can escape with your children before conflict situations escalate to harm.
  • Periodically contact a domestic violence hotline, crisis hotline, or victim services agency. They can help you in a variety of ways: assessing your options, providing support and peer counseling, helping you to figure out a safety plan, referring you to other services, and assisting you with a protective order and criminal prosecution.

Additional tips:

  • Develop a safety plan, and practice it with your children. Plan your escape route from the home. Identify areas that have no weapons, as well as rooms that have a window or door to the exterior. Stay away from the kitchen during an argument. Avoid closed-in rooms such as interior bathrooms where you can become entrapped. Move towards safe areas when arguments occur.
  • Protect your children by teaching them how to access help in an emergency and agree on a secret signal to evacuate the home. Instruct them not to intercede in violent incidents.
  • Always carry a cell phone. Identify women's shelters and other key resources in advance.
As a part of your safety plan, you'll need to  identify areas of the home that have no weapons, as well as rooms that have a window or door to the exterior.

As a part of your safety plan, you'll need to identify areas of the home that have no weapons, as well as rooms that have a window or door to the exterior.

Even more advice:

  • Don't protect your abuser by keeping his behavior secret. Instead, tell trusted friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors about your situation. Devise a safety plan that includes a code word and visual signal to warn trusted others in case of emergency.
  • Tell HR and security at your workplace so they can help you stay safe on the job.
  • Tell your family doctor, emergency room personnel and other health care providers whose help you might need in documenting your abuse and accessing resources.
  • Pack an emergency bag. Give it to someone you trust, or hide it in a safe place. It should contain money, extra house and car keys, medications, important contact numbers, extra clothes for you and your children, and important documents. Examples of key documents: immigration papers, passports and birth certificates, medical records, and protective orders.
  • If violence occurs and you cannot escape, make yourself a small target. Curl up tightly in a corner and protect your face and head.
  • Document abuse incidents using an event log. Then, retain your evidence on a designated technology platform. For example, at no cost you can use a Google drive as well as the Google Keep syncing note-taking app to store photographs, screen shots, emails, contacts, notes and lists, and audio recordings. Make sure a close friend or relative you trust knows the password.

References

1 "Sexual Assault Education and Resources | What is Intimate Partner Violence?" The University of Virginia. Last modified July 7, 2015.

2 Taranto, Ashley. "Same-Sex Intimate Partner Violence: Current Barriers to Service & Future Goals for Community Agencies." Council on Crime and Justice. Last modified 2016.

3 Thompson, Martie P., Kathleen C. Basile, Marci F. Hertz, and Dylan Sitterle. "Measuring Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration: A Compendium of Assessment Tools." PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.). doi:10.1037/e611952007-001.

4 Gerney, Arkadi, and Chelsea Pa. "Women Under the Gun." Center for American Progress. Accessed May 14, 2016. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/guns-crime/report/2014/06/18/91998/women-under-the-gun/.

5 Logan, T. K. Research on Partner Stalking: Putting the Pieces Together. National Institute of Justice, 2010.

6 Stalking Resource Center. "Stalking Fact Sheet." Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime. Last modified January 2015.

7 "Intimate Partner Violence Screening Tools." PubMed Central (PMC). Last modified 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2688958/.

8 American Bar Association. "Domestic Violence Safety Tips For You and Your Family." American Bar Association. Accessed May 14, 2016. http://apps.americanbar.org/tips/publicservice/safetipseng.html.

9 The National Domestic Violence Hotline. "Path to Safety." What Is Safety Planning?. Accessed May 14, 2016. http://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 21, 2020:

Peggy - You're right about the increased risks. It's hard enough being locked down with someone who isn't abusive. People get on each others' nerves without meaning to. However, I cannot imagine the terror of being stuck in a house with an abuser in this pandemic and depending on them should I get sick. And imagine if the family should lose its income source(s). Stress adds to the whole situation. Ugh. What a terrible situation.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2020:

Sadly, this pandemic is making domestic violence even more common since people are being forced to spend more time together. Your tips on what to do are more important than ever!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 24, 2019:

MahamMushtaq - Thank you for reading.

MahamMushtaq from PAKISTAN on August 23, 2019:

This article is well structured and very informative about the current social issue.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 27, 2016:

vespawoolf - I'm so sorry you had to grow up in an environment plagued by abuse and am heartened that you rose above those early beginnings. Many people sadly repeat the cycle. Thank you for reading and sharing your story.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on July 27, 2016:

Unfortunately, Sarah´s story is a common one. I hope this article may help others like her who are suffering in an abusive home environment. I grew up in a similar situation and vowed I would never marry an abusive man! Thankfully, those days are far behind me. It´s not easy to leave such a situation for the reasons you mention. I hope this article can also help others to understand and help abuse victims.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2016:

Cynthia - Wow, thanks so much!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2016:

Cynthia- Thank you for your support and encouragement. Her husband is finding creative new ways to terrorize her as she advances through the divorce process. He skirts the protective order in unforeseen ways. It's not a good situation. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She and her three kids need all the help available.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 22, 2016:

I wanted to let you know that when I tweeted your article it was picked up and retweeted by a Washington DC NGO working against domestic violence called Saving Promise-- thought you might to look them up at: https://twitter.com/SavingPromise

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2016:

Cynthia- Thanks for your kind words of support. He is creative in terrorizing her and playing twisted games with their kids, skirting the protective order. The psychopathology in him is really coming out, unfortunately. Keep her in your prayers please. She needs it.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 21, 2016:

FlourishAway, your article is exactly what I would expect from someone with your broad experience--professional and personal-- in working with and studying people. Your research skills are unmatched, and your ability to organize the content in the respectful, compassionate, impactful manner this subject demands is nothing short of masterful. Your friend is so benefitted by your loving support. I pray that all works out well for her and her children. I am sharing this. -Cynthia

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 01, 2016:

Mona - Thank you for reading. It can be frustrating as a bystander and support person, especially when you think you clearly know what to do. But of course being in the situation bring tremendous stress so it's hard to judge. Have a great weekend.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 30, 2016:

this is a thorough, comprehensive article on spousal abuse. I particularly liked your charts and the video. the charts helped me to compare people I know who are living in violent situations. One can get so frustrated when women stay in difficult relations but the first step is education to help open their minds. Thank you very much for thi.s

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 19, 2016:

Patricia -That is a sobering story. I hope women learn from it how action is important, else it may be too late. Thank you for reading. Have a good week!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 19, 2016:

This is a topic that often those who are involved in situations where violence is occurring want to avoid.

Being proactive, alert, and knowing when to leave is so extremely important. As a parenting person for a school in Florida, I had the unfortunate experience of having ladies arrive in the parent center who were abused. They knew they were in danger but often would say: where would I go? I have kids. What would I do to take care of them?

One of the ladies had come to me several times beaten, badly, and I finally said to her....I do not want to come to your funeral.

I do not know what happened to the her or her family...it was a transient population where I was working so it was not surprising that the children just stopped coming to school one day (the social worker and I went to the house and it was vacant!!).

Sharing this...

Angels are on the way to you and to all who are facing this horrid situation. ps

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 15, 2016:

Sha - Wow, that is a powerful story, and GOOD for you. I've got enough meanness in me to make sure he wouldn't be coming around any more. I was with Sarah yesterday for another step of the protective order (just to lend support). I was absolutely disgusted by the opposing attorney's question about are you sure his threat to cause harm wasn't made in an offhandedly manner? The Orlando shooter's first wife for similar reasons was afraid of him and look what he did. Guns don't belong in the hands of the mentally ill.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 15, 2016:

Flourish, you did the right thing by posting this well-documented article. It can and will save lives.

Many years ago I was in an abusive relationship. Without going into too much detail, he was physically abusive until one day I'd had enough. I retaliated by taking a heavy wooden walking stick and beating the shit out of him. I guess I'd temporarily lost my mind. Or perhaps I'd finally grabbed a hold of my mind. After that, I left him, but it took a few years before I mustered up the courage to do so.

What people don't understand about why the abused partner stays in the relationship is 1) the abuser promises it won't happen again (and you desperately want to believe him) and 2) you know he'll track you down and beat you again if you do. Fear is a huge factor. In my case, as I said, I just one day got fed up and gave him a dose of his own medicine. Thank God we weren't married and there were no children involved.

I wish the best for your friend and her children. Even with the restraining order in place, she's probably constantly looking over her shoulder. I pray it all works out and she can move on with her life and find happiness without fear.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 07, 2016:

Shyron - when you are able to share the story, I am certain it will benefit others. This is an issue where there should be no shame, no blame for the victim. Safety and lives are at stake, as in your friend's situation. There is no room for violence in love relationships, and more people should speak out and name their perpetrators. Jack currently has a protective order but he's also been at the firing range.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 07, 2016:

Flourish, thank you for writing this. Someday I will share my story. I know a man who went through a horrid abusive relationship and I did not know about my friend Linda until 2 days after her murder.

Bless you for writing this.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 02, 2016:

savvy - Thank you for the words of encouragement. I never thought someone I knew would be facing this; it's always other people, right? I researched it out of necessity so that I could educate Sarah that she is at risk and there are resources for her and others in this terrible situation.

Yves on June 02, 2016:

I appreciate that you mentioned, "Don't protect your abuser by keeping his behavior secret." I'm sure that the shame involved in telling someone has to be overwhelming, but if a woman says or does nothing, her life and the life of her children are in jeopardy.

This article is great. So well written. Even the Hotline numbers are big and bold---sort of how a woman need to be if she faces abuse or potential abuse.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 31, 2016:

Word55 - Thank you for reading and commenting. Amazingly, Jack proclaims to be a devout Christian. On one hand he speaks of loving Christ and on the other hand he obsessively visits strip clubs, threatens to shoot his family, and takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from the family's pooled resources to fund a sinful and deceptive lifestyle. I don't know what kind of hope there is for a person like that.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on May 31, 2016:

Hi Flourish, thanks for presenting this article. It is unfortunate that people are victimized in the ways that you describe here. Everybody needs to cling to Jesus Christ and God as soon as possible. There is nothing better than having God's peace on earth. Run for Jesus and run for God asap. Use the Bible, the Sword as your defense. Take the time to learn the good Word of God while there is still time.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 31, 2016:

Larry - We have the same wish. The world needs more kind and sensitive souls like you.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on May 31, 2016:

I just wish we lived in a world where this sort of thing didn't happen. It makes me ashamed to be a man.

Wonderfully written.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 29, 2016:

Fpherj48 - your comment speaks volumes about your commitment to others and your empathy. I hope everyone who needs help reaches out to caring and knowledgeable resources to lift them up to safety. Thank you for your volunteerism in helping people who need it.

Suzie from Carson City on May 29, 2016:

F.A. This is a wonderful, enlightening and necessary article of information. I worked for years with individuals of Domestic Violence via community crisis centers, as well as out-patient clinics and in-house treatment facilities. IMHO, this is must reading for everyone.

The tragic story included herein is so much more prevalent than the public is aware. This leads directly to the vital reason this subject matter should be exposed widely. The more people understand, the more protected society can become.

Women, who are especially vulnerable, desperately NEED to know precisely where to go, what to do (and NOT do) who to trust and "when." Far too often, as you are aware, women hesitate to leave the dangerous situation immediately as opposed to remaining for any reason whatsoever. In so many tragic cases of murder/suicide within families, it could have been avoided if the parties had been safely separated & protected in time.

Thank you for this article, F.A. This will be page one google material. Peace, Paula

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 29, 2016:

Nadine - I'm so glad you got out and found happiness with someone else who respects you and treats you well. Thank you for reading and sharing your story so that others know they are not alone.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on May 29, 2016:

This is an important article and today with having the internet and so many networks that offer help, I wonder if the abuse in relationships and marriages are just as rampant as it was in the seventies? I became a marriage counselor and was a member of lifeline during my own abusive marriage. I just never wanted to accept it. Thank goodness I manage to separate and my husband applied for our divorce because I was not getting into financial trouble for it. I was never intended to marry ever again. We contact each-other on Christmas and birthdays. He remarried but wished he never did, and I found my soul partner but never will make it legal. It's not necessarily to have that document between us. We are together for life.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 28, 2016:

Genna - He is most certainly a danger to anyone who stands in his way. My radar on him went off right away, but it took him years to reveal his true colors to Sarah. She sees him for the manipulator and abuser he is now. I hope he gets what is coming to him.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 28, 2016:

So many women stay in an abusive relationship...not realizing there is a way out, for all the reasons you have stated. Jack was a time bomb, literally. Psychological abuse is less visible, but just as damaging and cruel. This hub is superb! I only wish that all women who experience some form of abuse could read this.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2016:

Linda - I appreciate the vote of confidence and hope, too, that her situation improves now that she is divorcing. Thank you for sharing, as this may help someone.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2016:

Thank you, Demas.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on May 19, 2016:

Comprehensive and reliable.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 18, 2016:

This is an excellent and very important hub, Flourish. Your message should be spread far and wide. I hope the situation improves for your friend. I'll share this article.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 17, 2016:

Rajan Jolly - Thank you for sharing it. You never know who might need it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 17, 2016:

MsDora - Thank you for your kind endorsement. I hope people share it with anyone they think might be affected.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 16, 2016:

This is an issue that needs to be highlighted because of the widespread ramifications it has for those involved as well as their nears and dears.

Sharing this ahead.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 16, 2016:

Flourish, what a great job you've done here. You laid out this important topic very well. You gave lots of details and even offered help. Women you don't even know about will be thanking you. As useful as could be.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 16, 2016:

Dawa - Thank you for your insightful, empathic response to this description of a pervasive and serious problem. I hope anyone affected by this issue will recognize it for what it is and reach out to relevant resources before it's too late.

Dawa on May 16, 2016:

Flourish, you did a highly commendable job in highlighting the pervasiveness of this issue affecting many, especially women. That you chose to use a real-life relative to illustrate the problem just serves as a reminder that anyone can fall prey to Intimate Partner Violence. We often think of those who suffer as someone across town, rarely thinking it can be someone very close to us. This pattern of behavior leaves a path of destruction in its wake affecting friends, close acquaintances, children, and relatives. People may want to help but might tend to shy away for fear that their own lives will be caught in the cross-hairs. I've seen this happen, and urge anyone at the receiving end to ask for help and to heed credible advice. I hope your article serves as an eye-opener for those in need. I strongly feel it will. Thanks for caring!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 16, 2016:

Frank - Thank you for your encouragement. I agree it's a hate crime. I've run into cases of intimate partner violence through my HR career in the past, as people sought help from HR or were the target of stalking or outlandish complaints by an ex- or current spouse/romantic partner as a method of harassment. It is sometimes shocking who can be involved. I'm glad to be able to shine a light on the urgent need for recognition and resources of this violence. We so often think of strangers committing violence, but sometimes the fear is closer than imagined, right in the home.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 16, 2016:

more and more hubs like this should be posted.. and fore fronted.. What I find odd is that domestic violence is considered a hate crime.. and yet they're suppose to love one another.. I know prevalence figures indicate that about 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime... I couldn't find the figures for the opposite .. but this was a dare write.. and a much needed view into domestic and/or partner violence.. which I still consider a hate crime..

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 15, 2016:

Deeda - Let's hope the right thing happens for Sarah and her kids.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 15, 2016:

Bill - Thanks for reading. I also hope it reaches the right audience who can benefit from the potentially life-saving information and resources.

Deeda on May 15, 2016:

Very well done Flourish!

Deeda

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 15, 2016:

Such an important topic....you handled it beautifully. Hopefully this ends up being read by just the right people. :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 15, 2016:

MizBejabbers - Your advice based on your personal situation is spot on. I'm glad that you are safe and got out of the relationship. I hope your son realizes the gravity of the danger you and the family faced and comes to his senses. Your are a survivor!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 15, 2016:

Flourish, this is a very good article, and you've covered every aspect well. Just last night I watched an episode of 48 hours in which a woman was convicted of 1st degree murder for killing her husband. She did a very unconvincing job of trying to say that he had heaped years of abuse upon her. She also feared for the life of her son and herself at the moment. Her defense was shaky because friends and family said she hadn't told them that he was abusive. Truthfully, having been in an abusive situation, I still don't know whether she was telling the truth.

I, like many other women, hid the situation from my family and friends. The biggest reason was because when, or if, he turned his alcoholic life around, I didn't want them hating him. I'd seen too many women running to their mothers over any little insult or spat from their husbands, and the family would disrespect and dislike the husband even after the marriage got back on good terms.

I urge any woman who is being abused to leave. If you aren't willing to leave, at least document the abuse be telling several friends and family members about it. If there is physical evidence, take photos, then hide them somewhere.

You read my mothers day hub. I must tell you that a few years later the abuse turned physical, to the point that he pointed a gun at me and threatened to shoot me over a $20 bill a friend gave me to keep on hand for emergencies. I feel stupid for staying with him for so long, however, I did lose the love of one of my sons because I divorced his "wonderful" father. Recently, I sat this son down and told him the truth about the marriage when he accused me of a "wrong" that his father actually committed. We will see how our relationship plays out in the future.

Thanks for being here for abused women. I hope some of them read this and take your advice.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 15, 2016:

Peggy W - Congratulations on a long and successful marriage. I also hope that the outcome for this lady and her children is a good one.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 15, 2016:

Faith Reaper - That is such a devastating story, and it happens way too much that women become sad statistics. The trauma for that little boy and the mother's family, as well as the coworkers who had to face that gruesome conflict. It may see like this happens only to other people, but sadly we all probably know a woman who has faced Intimate Partner Violence. Thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

I am so fortunate and have a loving husband. We will be celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary later this year. I feel so sorry for victims of domestic violence. I hope that the eventual outcome for the person you know who is experiencing this is good. Sharing this!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 14, 2016:

This is a sad reality for far too many. We live in a small town now, and just three miles up the road is another small town. Our entire community was shocked to learn of this identical scenario playing out, but resulted in the murder of a young mother. What is so shocking is that the young man, who was married, and the couple has a small child, but the young man is the son of a well-known family in the County, whose parents happen to live in my small town, just behind our home down the country road just a bit.

Anyway, one day not too long ago, after the young wife decided to file for divorce and custody of their young child, the husband followed her to a doctor's office located close to a main intersection in that small town. His wife attempted to find safety at the doctor's office (where she worked, I believe) and pulled up to the office and jumped out of her car, with the husband in close proximity behind. Her had a gun and shot her in cold blood right there just outside the doctor's office. He showed no remorse ever. He told the office personnel who were present, that if they didn't want to see her killed in front of their eyes, they had better go back inside. Then he shot her in cold blood. Even at his trial, he showed no remorse whatsoever ...even being that his young son will grow up in this life without any parents, especially his loving young mother.

So, the wife was brave to go ahead with the divorce, but it had to have been difficult being her husband's family was well-known and even respected in the community. So, maybe he was of the mindset that he could get away with anything?

What's even more bizarre in my mind, is that the parents of the murdering son, is filing for custody of their young son! Her parents have him right now, or at least the last I heard or was reported. I know his parents may be wonderful people, but I just don't know, especially when their son killed that little boy's mother in cold blood with no remorse.

Important article to bring awareness, Flourish.

Sharing everywhere

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 14, 2016:

Oh, Anamika, I am sorry for your past experience and salute the survivor in you. Persevere and be strong; you're right that you do not need a partner to be happy.

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on May 14, 2016:

I have gone through this and much more that I am scared of relationships and commitment. I have realized that I am responsible for my happiness and do not need a Partner to be happy.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 14, 2016:

emge - I wonder about that too across a variety of cultures. Females are not always respected as they should be in masculine-centric societies. Very sad.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 14, 2016:

Nell - I'm fortunate, too, in that my husband of 20+ years is kind, easy going, respectful and mentally stable. I worry about women who do not have that kind of stability and equality in their lives.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 14, 2016:

Jodah - Thanks for sharing. I researched the information as a result of her experiences, although I don't think she'd recognize her situation as one involving abuse.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 14, 2016:

Interesting post. But I wonder how womeñ can be safe in Muslim society where they have no rights.

Nell Rose from England on May 14, 2016:

Reading this through I am so glad that my 'other half' is such a sweet person. I am lucky, this has never happened to me or my family, but just reading made it feel really frightening, fascinating and disturbing.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 14, 2016:

What a thorough and well researched hub, Flourish. All women need to read this and be aware of this too familiar scenario. I hope everything works out well for your friend. I am sharing this.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 14, 2016:

Devika - Thanks for reading. I agree with you. Hopefully, if people read a hub like this they can identify the risks around them and know a little more about what to do, even if it's happening not to the but to someone they know and care about.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 14, 2016:

I did not have this kind of experience. What people are capable of surprises me sometimes!