Yesterday, there was a news story that a local woman was the victim of an attempted murder. The report indicated a street and showed a house, so I could see the house number. No names were released, but the victim was a woman in her late 40’s or early 50’s, and there were two grown children.
Sometimes, we have intuitive triggers inside, and I followed my instinct. The address was vaguely familiar. As a former investigator, I knew some of the simple tools to find people, and confirmed my suspicion – I knew this woman. I’d worked with her for over ten years. We commuted to work together for about a year. Her children were so small then. I’d met her husband once.
In December 1994, he was charged with simple domestic assault, a misdemeanor. The case was disposed. In January 1995, he was charged with violation of a protective order. The case was dismissed. In February 1995, he was charged with felony assault with a dangerous weapon. He pled nolo contendere and was given a suspended sentence. In August 1999, he was charged with simple assault/battery, he pled nolo, and was given 350 days probation and ordered to have no contact with the victim.
You may be like me, saying ‘why didn’t she leave?’ I can’t answer it. Millions of women stay with abusive, violent spouses and partners. (And yes, I know domestic violence can affect men, too.) For those of us who know this victim, it’s hard to imagine, because she is a strong, very dominant personality, yet she continued to live with this poor excuse for a man. There may have been cultural and/or religious issues that others would never understand.
Either way, a friend is battling for her life. Her grown children are devastated. Her husband, after trying to kill his wife, took his own life, perhaps out of shame, or fear, or cowardice. He cannot hurt her any more. But if she survives, the scars will remain.