A recently published book, No Visible Bruises: What we don’t know about Domestic Violence can Kill Us, is a must-read for professionals, survivors of domestic violence, and their family or friends who want to understand the dynamics of these situations. The author, Rachel Louise Snyder, approaches the subject from her background in journalism, and begins with the facts of a domestic violence murder that no one predicted and no one understood. She thoroughly explores what is being done across America to recognize and help protect potential victims.   

The book promotes the premise that domestic violence fatalities should be viewed like plane crashes, there not one single factor that can be blamed and changed, instead it is a series of mistakes, missed opportunities, and failed communications. Forty states now have fatality review teams to build a timeline of the case, gather as much information as possible about the victim and the murderer and look for critical moments where system players could have intervened and didn’t or could have intervened differently. 

Alarming Conclusions About Domestic Violence

She looks at a number of studies with some alarming conclusions. In one study, at least half the women interviewed were unaware of the severity of their situation. Nearly every survivor of domestic violence finds it hard to imagine that the person they love, or once loved, the person they made a child with, the person they made a commitment to and vice versa, who shares every big and small detail of their life, would take that life.  This simple conclusion says it all: “Love is what makes domestic violence different from any other crime.” The author grapples with the concept that people involved have said to each other and to the world, You are the most important person to me, and then, in an instant, for that relationship to be lethal! It requires us to mentally, intellectually and emotionally hurdle beyond what we can imagine. Every survivor says I’m not your typical victim. Sadly, she concludes that anyone one of us can be in the same situation.

Significantly, one study of 300 domestic violence crimes, strangulation abuse was found to be the most common form of abuse by a perpetrator before a homicide.  But only 15% of the strangulation victims had injuries visible enough for photos, so they were ignored by police and hospital personnel. One of the keys to stop abuse from escalating is for misdemeanors to be taken far more seriously.  Experts recommend that bail statutes should include a dangerousness review, and defendants should be retained in custody since a lot of violence happens between arraignment and disposition. Holding an abuser before trial helps victims by giving them time to regroup, put their lives in order, find alternative housing, save some money, find counseling and change jobs.  

Experienced Seattle Family Law Attorneys Are Here To Help You

Professionals, friends and family can offer support to survivors in order to disrupt an escalating cycle of violence. If you have a friend or relative that is in an abusive relationship, you may be able to convince them to take legal action or seek help to stop the abuse.   At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, our experienced family law attorneys can help develop a strategy that may save a life.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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