HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

An Anon’s Take On Domestic Violence…

Monday, February 22, 2010
Posted in: Domestic violence

An anonymous commenter posted on an old thread entitled Romance Authors Can Be Victims Of Domestic Violence Too, yesterday, and I thought it was worth re-posting in its entirety.

“This starts pretty abruptly but its 5 am and I haven’t the energy to re-write the thing, so let me just preface by saying, as to the question of why women try, stay, and put up with abuse, even to the point of defending their abusers, this is my take on some possible (in my opinion) heavy contributing factors.

It’s long and rambled slightly, and for that I apologize. I just feel like talking about it, mostly because I feel stuff like this is frequently overlooked in favor of more pat (and also true) answers like “brainwashing.” Its not that I’m right necessarily, just that I don’t think I’m entirely wrong, and that I have this weird idea that if mindsets like these were not just more understood, but respected (not dismissed as “delusional,” “reactionary,” or other thoroughly unflattering verbs) we might get farther in saving women.

Again, I could be wrong, this is just my experience.


wtf-gorillaSo it’s Sunday evening, after midnight, and I’m turning lights off, checking windows and doors, the usual, when I hear a car (an SUV it turns out) stop rather abruptly across from my house. And then the fighting starts–and by that I don’t mean yelling only, no. There was yelling, screeching, screaming and shouting, to be sure, but there was some physical contact.

More yelling, more screaming, then the couple take it inside. Their windows seem to be closed, yet I can hear them from across the street.

And I’m sitting here wondering whether I should call the cops or not.

Of course, people argue and fight, and for all I know the physical contact wasn’t violent. But if you have checked the news lately you’ll see that these days, more than ever, one cannot take these things in stride. It would seem that almost every day for weeks people all over the US are killing their loved ones and then themselves, or randomly attacking strangers. (more…)

“Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

US Department of Justice: Office on Violence Against Women: Domestic Violence

I was reading the really sad story of Nancy Richards-Akers, a romance writer who was murdered by her husband a few years ago, and I couldn’t help but wonder if domestic violence is just as prevalent within the homes of romance writers, as it is everywhere else.

I didn’t realise that her murder had been the third time within a three year period, that a romance writer had been killed by her husband.

Continued after the cut…

Apparently, Pamela Macaluso, and Ann Wassall, romance writers from California, had also been killed by their husbands in 1997, and 1996, respectively.

According to an article in Wikipedia, 20% of all violent crime experienced by women in the US, are cases of intimate partner violence.

I’m pretty sure a lot of readers probably don’t think about authors who write about falling in love, being victims of domestic violence themselves. Thinking about it boggles the mind, but here are some stats that I picked up, from various websites.

In England 16 per cent. of all crimes are cases of intimate partner violence

Bureau of Justice Statistics: Intimate Partner Violence and Victim Age group 1993-1999

Does anybody know what the average age of romance writers are?

Some more scary US based stats for you:

85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female.

Over 500,00 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.

5.3 million women are abused each year.

1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.

From American Institute on Domestic Violence

Also, according to the Home Office for England and Wales, 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Those are scary statistics aren’t they? With stats like those, it seems inevitable that some of the authors that we revere will probably have been victims at one point or other in their lives. Some may still be victims, but perhaps aren’t telling.

I was reading this article by Jean Marie Ward, about Richards-Akers, when this paragraph caught my eye:

Reading this made me wonder how many romance authors out there are actually victims of domestic violence, but yet publically maintain that they have fantastically understanding husbands, who support them in everything they do.

I must admit, I always wonder at the real truth, whenever I read author bios, that spend about ten paragraphs extolling the virtues of their significant others. Call it the cynic in me.

I’m willing to bet that a substantial percentage of romance writers have been victims of domestic violence, at some point in their current relationships, but possibly feel that it would shatter the illusion that some readers have of romance authors having happy, satisfying marriages.

It seems unbelievable that people who dedicate their lives to writing about love, mutual respect, and trust, may be living in nightmarish situations, that few of us can imagine, but I’m guessing that these people exist in Romanceland, and that you may have shared a drink or two with them, without ever guessing at the real truth.

Help for victims of domestic violence is available, I’ve listed some sites for anybody who needs information on how to get that help. Before using the websites, I thought it would be prudent to post the same warning message that the USDOJ has on their site:

(“Warning: Before e-mailing or using this Web site, know that an abuser in the home can discover your Internet activities. The safest way to find information on the Internet would be at a local library or a friend’s house. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), TDD 1-800-787-3224.”)

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (USA)
Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community (USA) (music on home page so you may want to lower the volume)
Family Violence Prevention Fund (USA)
Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, Australia
Shelternet, Canada
Women’s Aid, UK
American Domestic Violence Crisis Line For Americans Overseas

USA National Domestic Violence Crisis Line 1-800-799-7233.
Womens Aid Helpline UK 0808 2000 247

Information Sources:
Home Office – Crime in England and Wales 2004/2005
American Institute on Domestic Violence