What is domestic violence, really? We know what the experts say, it can be physical, emotional or verbal, but apparently the jury is still out. Look at Charlie Sheen, a multiple offender, he holds a knife to his wife’s neck, yet gets off with no jail time! Is it because he didn’t inflict actual physical harm? Is it because he is a celebrity? Is it not truly domestic violence until it results in murder, like Stacy Bryant, the Rancho Santa Margarita woman who was murdered by her husband last week?
I think it starts with verbal abuse and can be stopped before it results in physical abuse or heaven forbid murder. If our legal system would be harder on those that commit verbal or emotional abuse than maybe it would never get to murder! What do you think? After 4 years of listening to our clients’ stories, many of them have told me they would have rather been hit then endure the pain of daily verbal abuse.Bruises fade but the recordings play on in your head. The words like “you are good for nothing,” “you are a horrible mother,” “you are ugly” play over and over and tear down confidence and self-esteem and build up fear and hopelessness.
Domestic violence doesn’t just impact the woman, it is far reaching; children, other family members, neighbors, co-workers and bosses, students and classrooms. When is our legal system and society going to recognize this is more than an “issue” between a man and a woman?