When I read headlines on Domestic Violence and they contain the immortal words; “He Just Snapped” – it will very often contain the following; “out of character”, “isolated incident”. The reporting of Domestic Violence is not doing anything to stem the flow of misrepresentation about this crime. Type “He Just Snapped” into Google, watch the tide of uniquely reported DV news stories flood your screen.
Very often he hasn’t just snapped, very often it will be the crescendo to a run of systematic abuse that will have been going on for years. 76% of all DV incidents are repeat. 76%. He didn’t suddenly turn on her, out of the blue, out of character, this family man of good standing in the community. Three quarters of the time it will have happened before.
The following stats are taken from The Crown Prosecution Service Website and all links to the source material can be found here
- Nearly 1 million women experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year
- At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence
- Two women are killed each week by their partner or ex-partner
- 54 per cent of women victims of serious sexual assault were assaulted by their partner or ex-partner
- Victims of domestic violence are more likely to experience repeat victimization than victims of any other types of crime
- 76 per cent of all DV incidents are repeat
- Women experience an average of 35 incidents of domestic violence before reporting an incident to the police
And what of the woman who suddenly snaps “after years of repeated abuse”. The response to her, is not “it was so out of character”. The response to her is “why didn’t she leave sooner”. What people who are reading these articles and writing these reports are failing to see is that many, many women in abusive relationships DO SNAP. But the result of their snapping is to leave, to escape, to run away. When they snap they don’t take a hammer to their partner, they don’t murder a father in front of their children. They remove themselves from their place of torture and find a way to survive and they do this with a bravery I can’t even begin to comprehend.
“What goes on between a man and a woman in the privacy of their own home is no-one’s business but theirs” NO. Not anymore. We cannot allow this mentality to pervade. A man’s front door should not protect him from facing a jury for his crimes. We owe it to every woman trapped in this way to be her voice, because at the moment, the crimes still going on unpunished show me she’s not being heard.