Domestic Violence and Relationships

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

The family of a woman who has been charged with murder in a June 8 shooting in Lauderdale says she was a longtime victim of abuse.

What goes on behind closed doors will always be a mystery for most of us. And when something goes terribly wrong, those questions still remain.

According to Leslie Payne, executive director of Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter in Meridian, situations are very confusing for the victims.

"It is such an involved, very complex issue," Payne said.

One of the first questions people ask, if they have never been in an abusive relationship, is 'Why doesn't the victim just leave?'

"What we see most often in why victims stay in a relationship, a lot of times, it's that emotional connection, bond with the abuser," said Payne. "The abuse doesn't happen 24/7. There are periods in this relationship that are abusive, but the majority of the relationship is a normal one."

But along with the emotional connection, victims can be overwhelmed in their financial situations, lack enough self-esteem to see a brighter future, or even fear what the community would think if they were to end their marriage or relationship. But the issue of love can confuse the situation even further.

"Sometimes victims can see that as a form of love, of that emotional connection with someone. This person really loves me, because once the abuse happens, they are really sorry," Payne said. "Sometimes there are gifts, promises. There is always that hope of change that a victim will stay because they believe that the abuser will change, that this will not happen again, and if they only stay, the abuser will change."

But time after time, Payne has witnessed situations where the abuser doesn't change. She said Care Lodge tries to offer victims hope by showing there are ways to make a new life without the abuse.

Statistics show women rarely commit murder. Only seven percent of convicted killers in the U.S. are female. But the U.S. Department of Justice says more than 40% of people who murder family members are women.
That number has dropped dramatically over the last 30 years.


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