Back in April, former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl DB Deion Sanders was allegedly attacked by his estranged wife right in front of his children. On Sunday, August 12, 2012, former Miami Dolphins WR Chad Johnson–formerly known as “Chad Ochocinco”–was released from prison after being arrested the previous night for allegedly head-butting his new wife, former “Basketball Wives” television star Evelyn Lozada.
These two stories jumped out at me for one reason: how the incident was handled in the immediate aftermath.
In the case of “Neon” Deion Sanders, he actually tweeted photos of his children filling out police reports. While I understand and advocate building a record, his involvement of his children at all was troubling–their “statements” should have been reserved for a therapist or Guardianad Litem–and his public tweeting of such photos reeked of someone focused on generating sympathy for himself rather than protecting his children.
In the case of Chad Johnson, it was the reaction of his wife that impressed me. From the New York Daily News, Ms. Lozada’s statement (emphasis mine):
“It is with great sadness and much trepidation that I release this statement addressing the domestic violence incident that happened this past Saturday,” she said. “I am deeply disappointed that Chad has failed to take responsibility for his actions and made false accusations against me, it is my sincere hope that he seeks the help he needs to overcome his troubles.
“Domestic violence is not okay and hopefully my taking a stand will help encourage other women to break their silence as well. I’m grateful to my family, friends and fans for the outpouring of support during this difficult time.”
Every day, there are thousands and thousands of women across the country dealing with domestic violence — and those are just the numbers that are reported. Here are some alarming statistics:
- Between 1998 and 2002, of the 3,500,000 violent crimes committed against family members, nearly half (49%) were crimes against spouses. 84% of spousal abuse victims were women, and 86% of abuse against dating partners (boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.) were women. Men accounted for 83% of all spouse murderers, and 75% of boyfriend/girlfriend killers. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)
- Approximately 1,300,000 women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend each year in the United States. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)
- According to the 1991 Uniform Crime Report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a woman is beaten every fifteen (15) seconds. According to the U.S. Department of Justice numbers above, it works out to be every twenty-four (24) seconds. Both are intolerable.
- Only a portion of incidents are reported. The American Medical Association estimates that approximately four million (4,000,000) women are victims of assaults by husbands and boyfriends each year, and that roughly one out of every four women will be abused by a partner in her lifetime. (Source: ““Violence Against Women”, CQ Researcher, Congressional Quarterly,
Inc., Vol. 3 No.8, February 1993, p. 171)
- A 1992 congressional report found that domestic violence incidents were, at that time, the leading cause of injury for women aged 15 to 44 here in the United States. That was more than rapes, muggings and automobile wrecks combined. (Source: “Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.)
Here in South Carolina, victims of domestic violence have options, some of which are spelled out on the Domestic Violence & Your Rights page HERE. Further, in cases in which minor children are involved, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-40 (2009), the Family Court has been specifically directed in this state to consider evidence of domestic violence in making decisions with regard to child custody disputes.
At the end of the day, what really matters is awareness. I was happy to see that the soon-to-be ex wife of Chad Johnson seems to understand that, and is using her unfortunate situation as a means of raising awareness to what is going on.