Not since Mike Tyson was destroying opponents in the ring in the 1980s has a left hook ignited discussion like what has occurred this week with Ray Rice, the suspended Baltimore Ravens football player.  Domestic violence is the topic, even if the video of Mr. Rice punching his fiancée, Janay (Palmer) Rice, who is now his wife, in an Atlantic City elevator happened back in February.  Like many domestic assault cases, Ms. Palmer declined to testify against her significant other, and charges were dropped.  See the article in The New York Times.

“Love Shouldn’t Hurt.”  “Anyone Can Be a Victim.”  “Take a Stand.”  Such are the messages seen on the websites of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).  The national data indicate that more than 42 million women, and 1 in 10 men, have been victims of rape, physical violence and/or stalking in their lifetime.  Thirty percent of women in the United States have been slapped, pushed or shoved by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  More than 166,000 women in New Hampshire have been victims of physical assault by an intimate partner.  Intimate partner violence needs to stop before it begins, as urged by the Centers for Disease Control.

Last month, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law numerous bills that address victims’ rights, including issues of workplace protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,  establishing a committee to study sexual abuse prevention in schools, and one, Joshua’s Law, establishing  domestic violence as a crime.  Joshua Savyon was killed August 11, 2013, by his father during a supervised visit at the YWCA in Manchester.  I happened to be coming out of the YMCA (a block or so away) with my sons that Sunday morning as the police cars and ambulances approached the location of the shooting.

Ultimately, domestic violence is about power and control and affects the abuser, victim, children, families and friends.  ”Crazy Love” may actually be a psychological trap that gets worse as time goes on.  The final choice for survival often comes when beatings are so severe the victim realizes that the next time, they may be dead.  Can there be a future without violence?  I certainly hope so.

My parting shot: Don’t hit, and don’t be hit:


Stuart J. Glassman, MD

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