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You Misspelled "Domestic Violence"

Nurses Article   (3,086 Views 22 Replies 975 Words)
by Ruby Vee Ruby Vee, BSN (Member) Nurse Verified

Ruby Vee is a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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Domestic Abuse is not "fighting" or "arguing". Minimizing it or justifying it doesn't help anyone except the abuser. Let's call it what it is.

You Misspelled "Domestic Violence"

I was sitting in the doctor’s office with my husband of nearly 20 years, and he was asking to be put on anti-depressants again.  He had been on anti-depressants for years, but had unaccountably stopped taking them after he retired.  His depression had always manifested as anger.  At this point, I wasn’t sure that his behavior changes were completely related to depression, but as they had coincided with being off the anti-depressants, I thought it was worth considering.  I’m not entirely sure why he agreed to go to the doctor’s office -- it certainly didn’t appear to be because he cared what I thought or how his behavior was hurting me.  But he went.  And when I heard him telling the doctor why he wanted to be on anti-depressants again, my heart sank.  “My wife and I are fighting all of the time,” he said.  “She wants me to take the stuff.”

The doctor looked over at me, probably noting the complete disbelief on my face.  And wrote the prescription.

On November 28, 2018, American Airlines Flight 3284 from Chicago to Toronto turned around after 15 minutes in the air, and returned to Chicago.  The official statement was that “a fight broke out between a couple on board.”  Police told NBC in Chicago that the flight turned around due to a “small verbal argument” between the couple, and that no one was injured.  But one passenger tweet that a flight attendant said the husband punched his wife in the face.  No charges were filed.

Link: Couple's In-Flight Argument Causes American Airlines Flight to Turn Around

I think that the Chicago Police, American Airlines and the journalists who wrote the original pieces spelled ‘domestic violence’ wrong.  It is not, contrary to what seems to be popular belief, spelled ‘a-r-g-u-m-e-n-t’.

In this day and age, when we are supposed to be coming more aware of the effects of the patriarchy on women, and more concerned with violence against women, it is absolutely appalling that any journalist would write an article ostensibly about “a small verbal argument” when said argument included a punch in the face.  To me, and perhaps because of my own dirty lens, it seems like American Airlines, The Chicago Police, and the various journalists who reported the story were minimizing domestic violence.  I care about that because I have been the victim of domestic violence, and when someone minimizes the behavior, they are minimizing my experience and, perhaps, minimizing ME.

When my husband retired and stopped taking his Prozac, he became an anger addict.  It seemed that he could not go more than three days without having a tantrum.  With months, it was three or more tantrums a day.  He cursed at me and called me names -- “fat bitch” was a favorite.  He criticized me constantly.  Nothing I did seemed to please him.  I cooked his favorite beef stew, and he screamed at me,  “there are carrots in here!  You know I hate cooked carrots!  That’s like a slap in my face!”  The next time, I made it without carrots and he screamed, “This isn’t stew!  This is just beef with potatoes.  You couldn’t even go to the effort of making a REAL stew!”  There was no way to please him -- the bar was always moving.

When he wasn’t raging at me, he was manipulating me.  “If you really cared about me, you’d make the stew the way I like it.”  I felt guilty, as though I hadn’t been trying hard enough to please him, even though I turned myself inside out to try to please him.  One day, I sat next to him in the car, knuckles white and hanging on to the seat for dear life while he wove in and out of traffic that was nearly bumper-t0-bumper at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour in a deluge.  He was raging at me the entire time because I had stopped to go to the bathroom too often.  He believed that one should only get off the freeway when one was out of gas.  I differed.  I prayed, and I bargained with God that if I lived through this, I would never let him get behind the wheel again.  And then I started getting my ducks in a row to leave him.

Verbal abuse isn’t “arguing” or “fighting.”  Neither is control or manipulation.

The incident that prompted the visit to the doctor’s office wasn’t “fighting,” either.  He didn’t like the way I was driving, and he yanked the wheel to the right, putting us in the ditch.  And then he dragged me out from behind the wheel and threw me to the ground.  He put his hands on me; he could have killed both of us.

Domestic violence is so much more than “fighting with my wife all the time.”  It’s an attempt by an abuser to grasp power in the relationship by blaming, controlling, shaming or assaulting the partner.  Let’s call it what it is.  Pretending it is something else only helps to keep the abused partner from taking her power back.  Minimizing a punch in the face discourages the victim from seeking help or finding a way out.  That’s not “an argument;” a punch in the face is violence.  Justifying verbal abuse by saying “He’s just stressed out from work,” or “He doesn’t mean the cruel things he says” tells the victim that she doesn’t count.  He’s already telling her she doesn’t count every day and in every way.  Let us not perpetuate the damage.

Maybe the only way we can help the victim of verbal abuse or domestic violence is to call it what it is.  So let’s do that.

Ruby Vee is a survivor of cancer and domestic violence. Cancer was easier.

11 Followers; 65 Articles; 170,677 Profile Views; 13,946 Posts

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Ruby Vee, I'm not trying to suggest that domestic violence isn't taking place; you know your own situation better than anyone, and please feel free to disregard this suggestion if you don't think it could apply, but I was wondering if your husband's behavioral changes; anger, depression, reckless and erratic driving etc. could possibly have an as yet unidentified physiological cause such as a stroke.  I have seen these behaviors in some people who have suffered a brain injury prior to diagnosis.  

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Ruby Vee is a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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For a long time, I was hoping he had a physical issue or a mental health issue that could be treated.  Sadly, he's just a narcissist and you cannot fix that.

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Tenebrae is a BSN, RN and specializes in Primary Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

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On 1/25/2019 at 6:49 PM, Susie2310 said:

Ruby Vee, I'm not trying to suggest that domestic violence isn't taking place; you know your own situation better than anyone, and please feel free to disregard this suggestion if you don't think it could apply, but I was wondering if your husband's behavioral changes; anger, depression, reckless and erratic driving etc. could possibly have an as yet unidentified physiological cause such as a stroke.  I have seen these behaviors in some people who have suffered a brain injury prior to diagnosis.  

I think this while unintended I'm sure minimises the impact of domestic abuse. 

There are many people who suffer from brain injuries, stroke, seizures, TBI etc who dont go onto abuse their partners. 

A biological factor should not be excuse for someone who chooses to put their hands on another in violence

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On 1/26/2019 at 12:59 AM, Tenebrae said:

I think this while unintended I'm sure minimises the impact of domestic abuse. 

There are many people who suffer from brain injuries, stroke, seizures, TBI etc who dont go onto abuse their partners. 

A biological factor should not be excuse for someone who chooses to put their hands on another in violence

No intention of minimizing the impact of domestic abuse which is very real.  Biological factors are not excuses (reasons to overlook the behavior of someone who puts their hands on another person in anger/aggression), but they can provide explanations for a person's behavior if they are found to exist.  Sometimes the biological factors can be treated successfully, but in order to do this they first must be identified.  

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On 1/26/2019 at 12:59 AM, Tenebrae said:

I think this while unintended I'm sure minimises the impact of domestic abuse. 

There are many people who suffer from brain injuries, stroke, seizures, TBI etc who dont go onto abuse their partners. 

A biological factor should not be excuse for someone who chooses to put their hands on another in violence

Not an excuse but maybe an explanation in some cases.  Maybe. I have no idea if it is ever the case or not.  I'm just thinking it over.

Ruby, thank you for sharing your experiences.  I'm truly sorry that you had them.

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8 hours ago, Susie2310 said:

No intention of minimizing the impact of domestic abuse which is very real.  Biological factors are not excuses (reasons to overlook the behavior of someone who puts their hands on another person in anger/aggression), but they can provide explanations for a person's behavior if they are found to exist.  Sometimes the biological factors can be treated successfully, but in order to do this they first must be identified.  

It appears by your two posts that the point of this article sailed right by you.

Biological or not - it’s still domestic VIOLENCE. It’s still abuse. Not a spat or fight. We as a society tend to minimize it (aeb the newspaper article Ruby quoted and the words you posted in this very thread) and as health providers we can not.

I work with people who have had strokes, developed seizures and have TBIs. My husband received a TBI 6 years ago. None have developed that capacity for violence Ruby is describing. Like Tenebrae said, it is not an excuse to put your hands on someone.      

 

 

 

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Ruby Vee is a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 65 Articles; 13,946 Posts; 170,677 Profile Views

On 1/26/2019 at 12:59 AM, Tenebrae said:

I think this while unintended I'm sure minimises the impact of domestic abuse. 

There are many people who suffer from brain injuries, stroke, seizures, TBI etc who dont go onto abuse their partners. 

A biological factor should not be excuse for someone who chooses to put their hands on another in violence

Thank you.  

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Hoosier_RN is a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

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I'm a survivor as well (I've written about my situation in other posts on AN).  I agree, it seems like media wants to minimize it or sweep it under the rug until someone is killed.  I've spoken at various women's groups in my area. I always say, trust your gut; if someone unsettles you, there's a reason.  If they lay their hands on you in any way, RUN like the devil is chasing you, because he is! Never, ever let finances, kids, health, or any reason stop you.  That very thought may be your last!

I usually cry when I read these posts.  Yes, I am now, because memories will get you every time

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Ruby Vee is a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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On 1/26/2019 at 9:49 AM, pixierose said:

It appears by your two posts that the point of this article sailed right by you.

Biological or not - it’s still domestic VIOLENCE. It’s still abuse. Not a spat or fight. We as a society tend to minimize it (aeb the newspaper article Ruby quoted and the words you posted in this very thread) and as health providers we can not.

I work with people who have had strokes, developed seizures and have TBIs. My husband received a TBI 6 years ago. None have developed that capacity for violence Ruby is describing. Like Tenebrae said, it is not an excuse to put your hands on someone.      

And it appears by my response that I completely missed the point that my point was missed by the previous poster.  Which leads to another point -- being "helpful" does not negate the part where my point was missed, even though I was posting post Benadryl and missed that my point was missed.

Thank you, pixie rose, for pointing that out.

Part of our jobs as health care providers is to care for the FAMILY, too, especially when the patient is hospitalized.  Sometimes the family is telling us straight out -- or even the PATIENT is -- that there is a safety problem in their home.  Had my almost-former husband's PCP done any probing about the "fighting", he might have done more than just write a prescription for anti-depressants.  Sometimes the patient isn't the one who isn't safe at home.  And often -- too often -- we as health care providers completely miss (whether unintentionally, or semi-intentionally, because we don't want to deal with it) the cry for help.  In this case, it could be argued that my husband's PCP had no duty to me -- and I am not entirely sure where the truth lies.  Perhaps some NPs or some clinic nurses have a better idea about that than I do.

Domestic violence is a problem in our society, not just in the home of the couple that "fights all the time."  The majority of mass shooting episodes start with domestic violence.  Think about the doctor shot outside Mercy Hospital in Chicago by her ex, who then went inside and shot and killed two more people.  The the news reported that "an argument prompted violence."  That violence was not prompted by an argument in the parking lot.  The shooter went to Dr. O'Neal's work with a gun, looking for her.  He went looking for trouble.  In this case, the violence was not confined to the victim's home -- it followed her to work.  

How many of us have cared for victims of domestic violence?  How many more do we have to see before we'll call it what it is, and not minimize it by calling it "an argument" or "a verbal disagreement"?

  

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AnnieNP is a MSN, NP and specializes in Adult Primary Care.

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Thank you Ruby Vee for sharing your story.

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Kallie3006 is a ADN and specializes in Surgical, Home Infusions, HVU, PCU, Neuro.

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Rubby Vee, thank you for sharing your story and providing some light in other's eyes who may have had "something" impairing their vision.  Domestic violence is so much more than physical detriments taking place, and for some, the physical is so much easier to recover from.  Those that say I would never let that happen to me, I would leave, why did she stay? have not been in that place.  They have not felt the self-doubt when the questions run rampant when trying to figure out what you have done to deserve this or find reasons to defend the abuser, the excuse of stress, or a bad day at work, or the baby was crying all night.  Those that have not woke up thinking today would be better, you're "perfect" image could still be, your "wrongs" in their eyes can be fixed, you will try harder, be better.  They don't know the bone-gripping fear of what it will take for you to leave, the planning, the hiding,  the need to look over your shoulder just to reassure yourself that he is not there.  They do not know what they do not know.

Downplay by anyone does not help anyone in the situation or one of their own.   

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