Speaker, Author, Consultant, Fraud Examiner

“I have to get my head in the game,” I think.

My desk is full of work and deadlines, and I am recording a podcast this afternoon.

But my heart and my head cannot wrap around the shocking news I heard yesterday.

A high school friend was shot and killed by her husband early yesterday morning, while she was on the phone with 9-1-1 seeking help. Another victim of domestic violence but this time it is a friend.

Postings on her Facebook hours earlier indicated there was turmoil in the house, yet she didn’t leave. There are so many questions that may never be answered. So many should ofs and could ofs flowing through the minds of her family and friends. So many if onlys bombarding loved ones hearts. 

And so many comments that make sense now, that we wished did not.

Here are the startling statistics according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV.org): 

  • 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner

  • Between 960,000 and 3,000,000 incidents of domestic violence are reported each year, while many more go unreported.

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

  • On a typical day, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide

  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%

  • 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon

  • Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care

  • In 2015, 928 women were killed by male intimate partners, most by firearms.

  • 94% of the victims of domestic dispute murder-suicides are female.

  • 1 in 3 female murder victims are killed by intimate partners.

These statistics are staggering.  The real life shock of it happening to someone you know is reeling. Yet, knowing these statistics now, it is probable.

As in every crisis, no one ever believes it would happen to them. As I write this, many in Oklahoma and Missouri are sorting through tornado debris or escaping the floods.  No one is immune from something unforeseen, but just as the radar is a good predictor for storms on the horizon, there are signs of domestic violence we can be on the lookout for. 

Again from the NCADV, here are some of the red flags of an abuser:

  • Extreme jealousy

  • Unpredictability

  • Verbal abuse

  • A bad temper

  • Forced sex

  • Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens

  • Cruelty to animals

  • Controls all the finances

  • Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair

I cannot have this conversation with my friend now. The truth is, I am having many onslaught moments of those should ofs and could ofs. I saw her a few months ago and something was off then. I  had a gut feeling but I had not seen her in many years, so I dismissed it, as I didn’t feel it was my place to say.

The reality is that I probably would not have made a difference but I should have tried.

So, let me ask you, do you …

  • Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?

  • Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?

  • Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?

  • Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?

  • Feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you?

  • Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?

  • Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?

These questions are on the NCADV website, along with a plethora of information. 

If we are not each other’s radars, we cannot help our family and friends stay safe from the storm of domestic violence. Unlike a real, physical storm,the abuse will not simply pass.

If you are reading this and answer yes to the questions above, please get help. Now

Domestic violence typically only escalates. The abuse does not “heal itself.”

Here are some logical steps:

  1. Call the hotline at the NCADV 800-799-7233 (SAFE) – they are anonymous, confidential and 24/7.
  2. Create a code word to say to those you trust that triggers help when you need it.
  3. Many more tips here.

If you are a strong personality and find yourself in a domestic abuse situation, you are never so strong that you cannot ask for help.

Please seek help. When you are being abused, nothing is more important than ensuring your safety.Being safely away from your domestic abuser takes priority over all.

Please share this information with your family and friends. You may save a life.


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