Domestics: Why don’t they just leave?
In many cases, they stay because victims can sense the ever-present specter of their death
You could ask any patrol officer with a bit of dust on their locker to name the ten most dangerous moments in their career and it is highly likely that at least three, maybe five of those moments will have happened at domestic violence calls. The inevitable question a police officer asks at some point in a career is, “Why doesn’t the victim just leave?”
Here are some answers to that question to ponder.
They Feel They Will Be Alone
They Feel Guilty
There is not another call that officers will be dispatched at which such a high degree of possibility exists that the victim of the crime may be arrested. An understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence as well as a thorough investigation will prevent this from ever happening to you.
“I Still Love Him (Her)”
The abuser often has a Jekyll-Hyde personality. They will transition quickly from delivering a merciless beating to delivering warm kisses, flowers, candy, and soft murmurings. The victim will often become a prisoner of their own heart’s irrational love.
They Hope the Person They Love Will Change
Having hope that a chronic abuser will change brings truth to the words of Benjamin Franklin, for he said, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting,” and in this case violently.
Another Often-Asked Question
While spending a career in law enforcement it is hard not to notice that victims, who manage to leave one abuser, often find themselves in another abusive relationship. It is natural to wonder out loud, “Are they looking for it?”
It is important to note that abuser’s don’t always look like an abuser at a glance. Who would have guessed O.J. Simpson was a monster? Even after ample proof was given to a jury that he was, he was still acquitted. It can be argued that this happened partially because O. J. did not look to the jury like an abuser.
On the other hand, an abuser can spot a victim at a glance. Abusers are attracted to persons they can control. That is why victims are often repeatedly victimized.
A Specter Looms
Victims know they are at greatest risk, when the try to leave. Many are living with a, not so unique kind of domestic terrorist, who maintains power and control through fear.
They Didn’t Leave Yet
It is said, “Never say never and always avoid using the word always,” but this seems to be the exact circumstance for use of the words.
Never get complacent at a DV call. Always investigate your domestic violence cases thoroughly as if someone’s life depends on it, because to some of the most vulnerable people in your bailiwick... it does!
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