Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

‘Tis the season for domestic violence

Post by Brian O'Neill on Dec. 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm with 15 Comments »
December 16, 2011 6:09 pm
Christmas tree with DV lighting

We may be rushing into the season of happiness and good cheer, but underneath that veneer lies a seasonal undercurrent of stress. In addition to the halting job market, people everywhere are also trying to fill stockings while continuing to pay for heat and rent. The cold weather and diminished daylight also forces people inside where they fight colds, germs and more often each other.

This seasonal trend became evident after just a couple of years as a police officer. Crime statistics, which are typically calculated over a period of years, also vary depending upon obvious elements, such as weather and daylight.  Gang-bangers, who use the warmth and extended daylight of summer to reconvene their ongoing gun battles, take much of their business inside come the fall. The shorter, colder days, though, have the opposite effect on people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens.

Many of those people, who enjoyed each other’s company during the lazy days of summer, face off across the dinner table in the winter.

A recent Trib article highlights just how prevalent domestic assaults have become. A full quarter of women polled indicated that they had been either shoved, hit, raped or seriously assaulted by a romantic partner in the course of their lives. That impressive percentage is further maddening because, in many ways, the ubiquitous crimes associated with domestic violence fail to capture our attention. Instead, the front page is reserved for lurid crimes involving deranged individuals whose collective body count pales in comparison to that racked up in domestic violence fatalities each year.

There are very few resources for victims of domestic violence. Most jurisdictions have little to offer a single mother who must flee her home to protect herself and her children. A hotel voucher is, at best, little more than a band aid. Resolving these crises requires support and temporary shelter; then the task requires a long term plan. That plan includes housing, counseling (psychological, financial and career) and other necessities to recreate a life outside the framework of the abuser.

Without a doubt, the best such program in our area is run by the Tacoma-Pierce YWCA. This is more than a shelter: The YWCA is an organization run by some of the brightest and most successful business people in our area, and it is staffed by some of the most dedicated and passionate individuals I have observed during my career. It first came to my attention years ago while driving around in a patrol car, with a battered woman and her two children, looking for a place – any place – for them to spend a safe evening. I was referred to the YWCA shelter.

When I pulled up to the curb the doors opened and staff members spilled out. They quietly took the family inside and gave me every reason to believe that this was a safe and good place for them to be. After numerous return visits and a tour, I now realize that this organization does more to reduce the escalation of domestic violence than any emphasis patrol or warrant sweep I might undertake. I have since became a member of the YWCA’s Public Policy Committee, and I could not be more proud of an organization’s determination and compassion.

As always, the holidays will keep the YWCA very busy. Unfortunately, the new year may see serious reductions to the YWCA’s funding if the state legislature decides to slice off the small amount it provides to this essential organization. That would be a very costly mistake.

I know that this is not a very merry topic for this time of year. But it is an important one.

Happy Holidays.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. It really is a shame that anybody thinks the YWCA actually helps solve the “DV” problem. A cynic might ask why the definitions and scope of “DV” keep expanding. As far as I can tell, it is just part of the fake prosecution of “abusers” to keep statistics up for the purpose of getting grants and donations.

    As long as the “problem” keeps getting worse, the money keeps flowing. Rewarding failure is what liberals/leftsists are good at doing, with other people’s money of course.

    In Pierce County, it’s all about keeping the genders at war with each other. The YWCA does nothing to help preserve or promote traditional marriage, which statistically is the safest place for any female to be.

  2. RidingintheRain says:

    Um ya, I used to volunteer at the Family Renewal Shelter in Tacoma and I saw real people, women and children hurt by domestic violence not statistics. Furthermore, while I also support traditional marriages, marriage itself does not mean that women are safe from domestic violence. The YWCA and Family Renewal are there to provide a safe place to go. At Family Renewal they provided counseling to both parties, or at least they did, to end the cycle of violence. Our policemen and women see this up close. You can’t argue against bruises and say it’s just someone’s statistics.

  3. leehallfae says:

    Women and men MUST pick better mates. That is all that there is to it.

    If you are too whatever to realize that YOU and only you are responsible for your life, health and you get only one chance, please realize that the rest of us are busy leading our lives and oh yes:

    The ratio of cops to civilians 1/17,000. Do not expect them to risk their lives when there are other crimes ongoing, and oh yes: Again, gals:

    When you have made a choice to remain with an abuser, that was a Choice.

    You could have decided to leave but you did not leave.
    I will keep saying this until you get it: You make the decision to stay with the abuser. And no matter what you gals say, I am convinced that you stay because of boredom.

    Men who cannot let go choose women who cannot say “No.”

    Quoting the great Gavin De Becker, the word no is a complete sentence.

  4. RidingintheRain says:

    For information of what abuse is and developing a plan for leaving go to:

  5. mjcrites says:

    A good and sobering post.

    I’ve noticed quite a few murder-suicides lately, two with five people total being killed. Is this a new or increasing thing?

  6. serendipity says:

    Simplifying DV to a black and white circumstance is simply to not understand it at all. Statements like the one above: he or she should just leave. This thinking is common and points to a complete lack of understanding for the situation. Sometimes “just leaving” involves kids, disabilities, economics, etc. This is why we have the shelter and vouchers and programs. Mitigating circumstances can be involved. Nothing is ever black and white. Shades of grey exist in all of humanity.

  7. Teach your boys to smile at women on the street.
    For no other reason then to be nice.
    No it’s not simple but the journey of 1,000 li
    begins with a single step.

  8. BlaineCGarver says:

    This is NOT an excuse for DV, but mucho women still think it’s ok and smack the poop out of their guy, and then wonder why they get it back…..I know the stats back me up on this, as it was covered in the TNT not so long ago. With booze involved, it gets even uglier.

  9. Chippert says:

    Thank you, Brian, for this short anecdote on a serious problem in our society. Unfortunately domestic violence has been around as long as there has been marriage (or partnerships). Kudos to the YMCA and any other organization who provide a safe place to shelter from a life-threatening situation. And this is exactly the season to hear this tale, since it is the Christmas season when stresses run high and so does alcohol consumption – bot of which are the fuel for increasing DV.

    Merry Christmas, Brian. And Merry Christmas and a huge Thank You for the boys and girls in blue to place their lives on the line for our sake.

  10. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thanks for all the thought-provoking comments. This topic obviously holds a lot of importance for me. I estimate that I have responded to about 1000 domestic disputes in my career, and I recognize how difficult it is to help victims who often don’t view themselves as such. That is just one of many challenges in battling DV.

    Taking a few days off, but looking forward to more discussion when I get back.

  11. BlaineCGarver says:

    Have a Merry Christman, Brian <{:-)~

  12. bobbysangelwife says:

    I’ve actually lived at a YWCA, many years ago. It wasn’t for abuse, but it was a wonderful place for me to be after I placed my son for adoption and dealing with the aftermath of that chapter in my life.
    The YWCA gave me a room of my own, peace, a place to learn how to really take care of myself, and counseling as well.
    I lived there for a year, and in that time I gained skills I hadn’t had, they helped me find a job, and it gave me a place to heal and deal.

    Places like the YWCA and the Salvation Army have wonderful and amazing programs, which is why I donate to them every chance I get.

  13. tree_guy says:

    People who voted for I-688 in 1998 (minimum wage law) which has been killing off entry level jobs for years have inadvertantly contributed to the problem of DV. They have also increased the incidence of other problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, and criminality. Call it the law of unintended consequences. Treating DV is really treating the wrong problem, we need to get people working. This will solve a lot of the problem.

  14. BlaineCGarver says:

    TreeGuy, I don’t buy off on giving a pass for DV. There should be no excuses.

  15. These issues start as young as middle school as far as I can personally testify. Hang around a middle school when school lets out. See the young girls getting into cars driven by boyfriends who can’t wait to smooch like porn stars before they even drive off; the girls who wait for their kiss and permission to enter school when the morning bell rings; the girls who write notes to kids like my 11 y.o. and ask whether he likes her and why and if he says “because your kind” ….replies that’s unusual because the other boys I ask tell me it’s because I’m pretty.
    Why does any 11 y.o. need a round robin of boys to tell her who she is at 12y.o.? The fact that the child does not come from an intact family doesn’t mean the father isn’t doing everything he can to hold his family safe.
    These issues are systemic to the development of self-worth in girls. Look at the Kardashians and filter it down.
    Middle schools teach about an insecure Eleanor Roosevelt and the trampling down of her sense of self-worth in the early years of her marriage but we need to teach with contemporary role models for our children. Eleanor is a meaningless historical person to an 11y.o. girl.
    IF mothers and fathers, despite best efforts cannot role model – our schools have to pick these social issues up and be a safe place before we even get into picking marriage partners. And the girls I saw getting picked up by boyfriends after school include parochial school. So much for religious influence.

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