This was originally posted on my Autism Custody Battles Blog, and remains as the all-time most visited post.
Statistics show that abusive men who kill their wives do so after they have been separated or divorce. What about statistics of men who emotionally kill their wives off by robbing them of the very children they carried and nurtured since birth? There must be a special name for this type of murderers and this morning I set out to find out just what they are called.
Post-separation violence can take many forms, including physical or sexual assault, threats of physical abuse, stalking, harassment, and threats related to taking custody of the children or refusing child support.
Wikipedia on Domestic Violence: “Clinicians should not relax their vigilance after a battered wife leaves her husband, because some data suggest that the period immediately following a marital separation is the period of greatest risk for the women. Many men will stalk and batter their wives in an effort to get them to return or punish them for leaving. Initial assessments of the potential for violence in a marriage can be supplemented by standardized interviews and questionnaires, which have been reliable and valid aids in exploring marital violence more systematically.”
Then there is the case of The Obsessed Abuser, Family Violence Prevention Fund www.endabuse.org “He may make threats to kill himself or her if she leaves him, asks for a separation or divorce. He often says, “If I can’t have you, no one will.” This behavior may persevere months or years after a separation. His criminal record can include violations of protective orders or situations where he has disturbed the peace as he pursues or harasses his partner. However, some of these men have clean records – only the partner knows about his jealousy and possessiveness.”
Spouse Murder and Separation Violence – Finally, I found the official terms for these behaviors.
Men like O.J. Simpson, think they are the abused spouses are very dangerous during separation and divorce. In one study of spousal homicide, over half of the male defendants were separated from their victims. G.W. Bernard, H. Vera, M.I. Vera, and G. Newman, “Till Death Do Us Part: A Study of Spouse Murder,” Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 10 (1982).
Bristol, CT Police Department has compiled some data:
Men, who believe they are entitled to relationship with battered women or that they “own” their female partner, view women’s departure as an ultimate betrayal which justifies retaliation. (Saudners & Browne, 1990; Dutton, 1988; Bernard el at, 1982)
Evidence of the gravity of separation violence is overwhelming.
Husband threatening to declare wife insane and threatening to take the children away:
In the book The batterer as parent: addressing the impact of domestic violence on family It is common for batterers to threaten to take children away from the battered woman by proving her to be an unfit mother (Doyne et al., 1999). Threatened or actual litigation regarding custody or visitation can become a critical avenue for the batterer to maintain control after separation (Shepard, cited in Straus 1995).
For this reason, some lawyers advise women not to tell courts or mediators about child abuse or domestic abuse because, by doing so, they risk losing custody to the alleged abuser (“Custody Litigation,” 1988; Saccuzzo & Johnson, 2004).
Message to Victims that you will often see posted says:
REMEMBER, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A CRIME.
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
YOU CAN GET OUT OF THIS SITUATION.
YOU DESERVE BETTER.
Really? What can I do to get out this situation? You can only get out of it if you do something before this situation has exploded in your face.