Your life is rolling merrily along and everything is wonderful. Then, without any warning, your calm little world becomes a turbulent storm. It’s 11 PM and you receive a phone call from a friend or family member begging you to come help her. The “love of her life” has brutally beaten, choked, and threatened to kill her. You’re forty-five minutes away from her location…
This is a dream—right? Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s the beginning of a long nightmare!
You later learn this is not the first time this man has abused her. She shows you a photo of her face from a previous beating. You are now fully aware of the “evil” called Domestic Violence. Regardless of your level of spiritual acceptance, your thoughts will likely drift between shock and vengeful rage about the event and the abuser. Your calm little world will never be the same.
The simple three-letter acronym for this type of brutality is CDV, which stands for CRIMINAL DOMESTC VIOLENCE. CDV is on the rise nationally and South Carolina has for years ranked in the top ten in the nation for this type of violence—including number of deaths caused by CDV. This is a very serious matter with more details provided below.
There are no good reasons for a man to strike, beat, or otherwise abuse a defenseless woman. So, why do they? Some abusers may have witnessed CDV as a child, which is sad, but whatever the root cause may be, one does not have to be a psychiatrist to realize the short answer is because abusers lack self-control. They are self-indulgent cowards who enjoy exerting control over a weaker individual and will likely get away with it—many times. Sadly, the legal system actually provides more protection and support for abusers than it does for many victims.
I was not the abuser nor will I ever be one, but I had the unfortunate opportunity to observe the aftermath of CDV and the pro-abuser-legal proceedings that follow such evil acts of violence. Since the subject of CDV doesn’t normally come up during the course of polite conversations with friends or family, I want to share some information about CDV. I encourage you to take a few moments to read the entire article because CDV could affect someone you know—maybe even you. It can happen when you least expect it.
Although it comes in many forms, CDV is most often associated with a man willfully and brutally attacking their defenseless wife or lover. They strike without warning and show no remorse afterward. Repeat abusers are actually proud of themselves, even delighted about the control they exert over a much weaker individual. Many abusers make their victims feel guilty about the incidents by convincing them it’s their own fault—the victim believes they deserved the abuse.
The harsh reality of CDV is that it occurs in all socio-economic levels; it spares NO ONE! Victims often hide the abuse from the eyes of the public because they are too afraid or ashamed. They may even go to great lengths to conceal their injuries from friends and family members by using makeup and wearing sunglasses to hide the telltale signs of physical abuse.
The graphic depicts a man hitting a woman and a child standing nearby witnessing the brutal attack. It portrays the physical and emotional pain suffered by the victims and the emotional stress it causes children who happen to witness such acts of cruelty. Imagine what a child learns from seeing dad hit mom—many times. Thankfully, children don’t normally experience physical pain from CDV, but what it does to them emotionally is a different story. Physical and emotional abuse of children is a completely different topic and worthy of a separate article.
Actual photos of a victim are too graphic to display. The sight of a severely bruised or bloody face would make you cringe as you imagine what the victim endured—the sound of clinched fists repeatedly smacking against soft cheeks would resonate in your mind like war drums beating loudly on a quiet, otherwise peaceful night. Imagine the mental and physical scars created for victims who experience such unwarranted-evil violence.
Now that I have your attention, it’s time to make your blood pressure rise a bit more. The South Carolina Attorney General’s website reported that domestic violence has become a crisis in the Palmetto State. More than 36,000 victims annually report a domestic violence incident to law enforcement agencies around the state of SC (that averages more than four per hour for every hour of the year). Over the past thirteen years, the average number of women killed each year by their intimate partner is thirty-three (33). This is just the tip of an evil iceberg, but even one death due to CDV is too many!
Obviously, there is no data available to show how many more of these incidents go unreported due to victims fearing reprisal. The cliché “We don’t know what we don’t know,” means the actual number of domestic abuse incidents is probably beyond comprehension.
It’s unfortunate that abusers often go unpunished by the futile laws of our society. Many victims have already suffered enormous physical/emotional stress and are often too frightened or financially strapped to participate in the criminal trial of their abuser—a trial that could take six or more months to even reach the courts. The victims realize their character will be denigrated during the process by “ruthless” defense maneuvering/tactics/distortions, which sometimes border on coercion (aka blackmail), as there is no other “practical” legal defense for true abusers.
Though they may be legal, these heinous defense tactics begin well before the trial date is even set. The tactics of badgering and “threatening” character assassination of the victim causes additional mental anguish, which often prevents the case from ever going to trial. The lawyer’s plan is to instill enough fear in the victim to help their abusing clients get away with the brutal violence as though it never occurred. No courtroom session means no criminal record exists, which allows abusers to commit more so-called “first-time” abuse incidents—repeatedly.
When the law does not follow through with severe consequences for evil deeds, the evil doers are likely to continue doing evil deeds. Unfortunately, an abuser of a woman is not likely to stop abusing her by his own volition, especially when he knows he can get away scot-free.
In the particular CDV situation I observed, the abuser had previously abused another woman multiple times before abusing the second victim multiple times, yet he still had no criminal record. His record is “clean” due to the legal maneuvering tactics that were used each time. He is a multiple-time-first-time abuser. It’s not if this abuser will abuse again, it’s when will he abuse again, and again. Sadly, his next victim has no way of knowing about his evil deeds until it is too late. A background check would reveal NOTHING!
All of these factors make it easy to understand why so many women remain silent about the abuse. What would you do if you were a victim of CDV—speak out or remain silent? Think about that for a moment.
Sadly, these abusers never dare attack anyone of equal or greater strength—someone who could fight back, for they fear the very pain they so gleefully enjoy inflicting upon their much weaker prey. At best, they are the lowest of low-life cowards who are full of evil.
Should an abuser actually be arrested and convicted of CDV (not likely under current laws), the penalty for the crime pales in comparison to the pain suffered by his victim. The following punishment for convicted abusers may surprise you.
(1) If ever convicted, first-time offenders face a simple MISDEMEANOR (same as shoplifting). The fine is not less than $1,000 or more than $2,500 or imprisoned not more than 30 DAYS. Here’s the kicker; the court MAY SUSPEND ALL OR PART of the sentence if the convicted criminal completes a program designed to treat abusers. That’s a joke in itself and probably helps explain why so many victims are too afraid to appear in court. They have already suffered enough and know the current legal system only serves to protect the abuser and punish the victim.
(2) Second time offenders still only face a MISDEMEANOR, fines not less than $2,500 or more than $5,000 and imprisoned not less than a mandatory minimum of 30 days nor more than one year. The court may suspend the imposition or execution of ALL OR PART of the sentence, except the thirty-day mandatory minimum sentence. This is still a token penalty for someone convicted of brutalizing women at least two times.
(3) Third time or more offenders FINALLY face a FELONY charge. Abusers MUST BE IMPRISONED not less than a mandatory minimum of one year but not more than five years—still not very equitable considering the physical pain and mental pretrial anguish the victims have suffered repeatedly, but the punishment is at least getting a little tougher. It’s about time, but very late in process!
This means a man can beat his wife to near death with his fists two times and if ever actually convicted of CDV twice, could serve as little as just 30 days in jail. Unfortunately, the despicable behavior of these cowards often goes unreported or unpunished by the legal system. Only after the third conviction does the crime even become a FELONY and the abuser may still receive only a meager one year sentence—not exactly what would be called equal punishment befitting the crime against the victims who have suffered a minimum of three times. It’s actually deplorable!
CDV affects more than just the victim. The stress on friends and loved ones from self-imposed restraint not to respond to abusers in an equally violent manner can be frustrating. The dichotomy of “an eye for an eye” versus “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,” shakes the very foundation at the core of one’s faith. Abuse brings one to question the “turn the other cheek” mentality, especially when the other cheek belongs to someone you love. That is precisely why awareness of abuse can invoke righteous indignation among people of faith. Yet, they know they must remain steadfast in their beliefs and not seek vengeance. The challenge can be extremely difficult at times, especially when the abuser proudly and openly proclaims to be an atheist with no remorse for their evil deeds.
People of faith must find the strength to deal with the hurdle that abuse of women places in the path of their spiritual journeys. They must try to take the high road—try to forgive, both the abuser and the “pathetic, do-anything-for-money” lawyers who willfully and wantonly defend the violent abusers for personal financial gain. It has nothing to do with justice or even an abuser’s rights to a fair trial. Solace must come from the depth of one’s faith, knowing a much higher power will make final judgment on all of us.
People can help mend the cracks in the foundations of their faith that CDV causes by supporting the many abused women who are dealing with these brutal cowards by doing the following:
- Pray for the pain inflicted on each of these women to end and for them to find peace and experience true happiness again.
- Pray for abusers to stop their evil deeds or face full prosecution to establish a criminal record for all to see.
- Report abuse incidents to law enforcement and organizations that support abused women.
- Contact lawmakers and demand that they pass stiffer penalties for CDV and then ENFORCE them—treat victims as victims and abusers as criminals!
- Consider supporting nonprofit organizations that provide care, comfort, and support for the many victims of CDV.
I hope you will help spread the word about this despicable crime labeled CDV by sharing this article and demanding congressional leaders pass stiffer penalties for all abusers—including punishment for the actual “first-time” offenders. Legal maneuvering around weak laws to mask the violence that lurks beneath the seemingly peaceful demeanor of an abuser must end. First time offenders must be limited to one time only—“flag ‘em and tag ‘em” so the public is aware that they are abusers.
HELP END THE ABUSE OF WOMEN AND SAVE LIVES!
Tom Tatum – Author
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum
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