Home > Stories From Small Town > A Bad Luck Domestic

A Bad Luck Domestic

Every police officer deals with their share of domestic violence cases. They are one of the more dangerous calls we take. Arizona law requires we make an arrest once physical violence has occurred. The only way to insure no one dies, after the police leave, is to take someone to jail.

Many times it can be tough to figure out who the primary aggressor is. I hate arresting both parties but sometimes there is no choice. Over a year ago, I arrested a man because he used a bat on his wife’s car window. He took responsibility for his actions and gave me no grief when I took him to jail.

At the jail, we had a conversation and Conner told me his wife was abusing him continually and he finally exploded, taking his anger out on her car. He explained he had never laid a hand on her and knew, if he did, he would be the one arrested.

Conner had a good point. I have seen fellow male officers overlook key components when the abuse is actually being committed by a female. I understand the officer’s reasoning. When a male has at least twice the strength of a female, it’s hard to comprehend a man being abused.

After listening to Conner’s side, I felt he was believable and I gave my guys a heads up. I asked them not to arrest him on his wife’s say so and look closely at the situation. The next time our officers had contact with the unhappy couple, after additional investigation, Doreen was arrested.

You are probably asking why these couples stay together and I don’t have a pat answer. Through my training and experience, I’m told most women will go back to their abuser fourteen times before finally leaving. I’ve dealt with several volatile situations and know if the woman stays, she will be dead before she reaches the national average. I have never seen statistics on men as domestic violence victims, which is another sad fact because it happens more than most people realize.

I’ve run into Conner several times and he is usually by his wife’s side. I hold my counsel and stay silent because I know it’s important that Conner and Doreen feel they can call us when needed, no matter the circumstances. The few times I have spoken to Conner privately he refuses to leave his wife.

I was working a Saturday morning shift and before I began my day, I had to clear the season’s first snow from my patrol windows. Our temperature had warmed up to frigid 35F degrees by 10 am when I received my first call for service. It was a domestic fight in progress at Conner and Doreen’s house.

I had no backup, which is typical on the weekend day shift. I headed to their house and asked dispatch to locate an off duty officer and apprise him of the situation, in case I needed additional support.

As I approached the house, I could see Conner standing behind his vehicle, at least the top half of Conner. He had no shirt on. Once I parked and got out of my car, Conner ran towards me. He was completely naked. His arms were waving and he was yelling that Doreen locked him out of the house. I was trying not to look but at the same time, it’s always safety first and it’s important to watch the situation closely. Conner’s hair (on his head) was wet and he was jumping around and obviously freezing. All I can say is it wasn’t only Conner’s arms that were jumping.

I gave him my jacket, which he placed around his waist. I opened the back door of my patrol car and locked him inside. This was a safety issue and by having Conner secure, I only had to worry about Doreen.

I knocked on the front door. Doreen answered and calmly told me Conner was not welcome back. After receiving a matching statement that no physical violence had occurred, I requested a bag be packed for Conner. Doreen put together some of his essential clothes and was nice enough to throw in a pair of flip flops (I’m being facetious). Though she wasn’t happy, I made her add tennis shoes.

I took the clothes to Conner and he dressed himself. I then drove him to our local hotel where he booked a room. He told me Doreen chased him out of the shower and then out of the house. I can’t explain what he was thinking when he ran outside naked. The good news that has come from this situation is Conner, for the first time, swears he is never going back. He told me Doreen was crazy. You think?

The bad news is that it’s colder than hell outside and I need a new jacket.

  1. November 6, 2011 at 7:26 am

    The domestics were my least favorite call to send officers on. In dispatch we were always hyper-vigilant on those calls, especially if we didn’t have back-up for the attending. Question: where there’s been physical violence, can you lay charges if the vic doesn’t? Or is it just an arrest and then release thing for cooling off?

    Oh, and hope you get a new jacket soon! 😉

    • November 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

      Thanks, I’m putting a request for the department to buy me one or at least get it dry cleaned. Yes, we can charge even if the victim changes their mind. The penalty is never as stiff though.

      • November 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

        The police can charge here in Canada, too. I actually believe they’re required to, but would have to check with hubby on that. Not sure what the penalty-comparison is like. Great post as always, Suzie…love how you bring issues into the open.

  2. November 6, 2011 at 7:33 am

    You’re so right about the double standard. I had to stop myself from not taking this type of abuse seriously. I think it’s because men are usually stronger than us so I assume she couldn’t really have done much damage but that’s not the point. Great post, as usual.

    • November 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

      My worst male victim was an elderly man, had been going on for years. Too sad! The level of violence when it’s a man though has by far been the most physical damage I have come across.

  3. November 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I think there is a serious problem with male domestic violence victims which we are not largely aware of. This seems mainly due to their reluctance to speak out and I think perhaps our tendency to see the incidents as funny has a part to play in that. In my opinion voilence is not funny. Thanks for this very interesting post 🙂

    • November 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

      You are so right, men don’t speak up about it! I try to keep my posts light so had never written about domestic violence. This was the first time I felt I could add a small amount of humor to this heartbreaking situation. Too many women and men are victimized every year and there is nothing funny about it. I do need my coat though.

  4. November 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    These people do good work – http://tinyurl.com/ccls8wf

    • November 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Great link and everyone who knows someone in a domestic situation should check it out and save to favorites. Thank you!

  5. November 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I learned through the rape crisis training I did that there is a veil of shame for men when they are the victims of domestic abuse or rape. Very sad and statistics are hard because men fail to speak up.

    Of all the times officers have come to my house during an episode with my parents, I don’t recall if my step-dad was always taken to jail. I think I’ve blocked it out. In our case, he was always the aggressor.

    I’m so glad you wrote this post, because it is so important that people not make assumptions about a scenario and/or a person. Great post, thanks!

  6. November 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Another great story, Suzie. It makes you wonder how she scared him away. Did she have a weapon? I guess you see all kinds of things.

    • November 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      I was trying to figure that one out myself. He said she just chased him and she had the same story. They are both prohibited possessors of firearms but as news reports say, it doesn’t stop them. I’m hoping this is the last time I deal with the two but chances are they will both connect with someone similar. I’ll just be thankful for a small respite:-)

  7. November 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    So hope Conner sticks to his decision. The abuse of the elder male is sad, but I’m glad you mentioned it. Sometimes people who have contact with the elderly don’t think to look for signs of abuse.
    When the occasional situation arrives that makes us chuckle, sometimes we have to see the humor in it or go crazy. For instance, even in caring for an elderly parent who has only one prognosis, I find a little humor can be a sanity-saver for all concerned.
    Love the post, Suzie!

    • November 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      I have the same hope for Conner. I spent many hours in training last year studying elderly abuse and it does often go unnoticed. Like small children, they often have no voice.

      My humor seems to come out at odd times. I did manage not to smile when Conner was in his all together. It helped that he did not appear to be embarrassed. We’ll see how I feel the next time I see him.

  8. November 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I come from a background where we had lots of domestic violence in the family. My father used to beat my mother for years, until she finally tired of him and made her escape, fleeing Managua, Nicaragua (taking me with her and leaving behind my two brothers) to San Salvador, El Salvador (to seek refuge with her mother).

    Though I was very young, I remember much. Leaving him was the best move my mother could have ever made. She told us that her beating were so bad he almost killed her on that last time. That was when she said “enough!”

    Thank you for sharing this post. It is a reminder, but it teaches us as well.


    • November 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      There are so many situations of domestic violence. I’m very glad your mother escaped. Her decision brought you into my small but incredible world and I love what you share in your writing.

  9. November 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I think we’ve all heard or seen some form of this during our lives. I’ve ‘called the cops’ on a neighbor who was beating his son and terrifying his wife (something he did on a regular basis). I always just wondered why she put up with his violence, but when he directed it at his teenaged son, who couldn’t get away or take care of himself, that was the limit, for me. I still hear him yell on occasion, but don’t hear any more hitting. Supposedly he had to get anger management classes.
    Excellent writing, Suzie. Couldn’t stop reading once I started.

  10. November 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    My comment will undoubtedly add a little twist to the mix. I’m a woman in my 50s. I’m calm and congenial now [thanks to many years of therapy] but I grew up in a violent home and became violent myself. Even though I married a wonderful man, I still had a lot of residual rage. It’s only by the grace of God that I wasn’t a Doreen or worse. My point is, violent people are often raised by violent people and this is all they know. Non-violent conflict resolution has never been modeled for them. They’re completely clueless as to what proper boundaries and don’t know how to speak up for what they need. It’s a tragedy on so many levels. It’s very serious and yet, I think without a healthy sense of humor a person like yourself, Suzie who is routinely faced with some of the worst that human nature has to offer would go nuts. You rock!

    • November 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

      When raised in violent surroundings, discussion and peaceful resolutions are not a solution you can conceive. I see this too often. To change and grow past this background, shows what an incredible person you have become. I so appreciate you opening yourself in this discussion.

      Due to the way my husband was raised, he brought yelling to our relationship and I screamed continually at my oldest two children. When my youngest was born, I stopped (cold turkey). It took a while before I could break my husband’s loud displays of anger but yelling is a habit much like violence, though obviously without the physical danger. The emotional damage of uncontrolled shouting can be extreme and have a lasting negative effect on children. If I told this story to our friends they would never believe my husband raised his voice. He coaches football and girls’ softball. A gentler man would be hard to find.

      Life, for me, is one continual learning lesson. I’m so thankful you shared your background.

      • November 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

        Suzie, may I ask you 2 questions? One is professional, ananother is semi- can I list my email here? Or is there any other way?
        Thank you, and thank you everyone for understanding

      • November 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

        You may email me at suzieivy @ ymail .com (one word)

  11. November 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I was the person one of my dearest friends in the world called first (after someone – many someones, long story – called the police) after her husband beat her up – while she was driving, with their two small children in the back of the car – and then ran off with their six-week-old daughter, screaming he would kill both kids before he would let her take them. I missed the call by a couple of minutes, but two seconds into the message and I was getting dressed to leave the house, just from the sound of her voice.

    It was the first, and hopefully the last (the divorce is not yet final, though proceedings are underway and they are not living together) time he had laid a hand on her. I believe her when she tells me this, what I couldn’t believe was the black eye she had, among other things. You couldn’t put a black eye like that on someone on TV or in a movie, because no one would believe it was real.

    • November 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

      So very sad but thankfully she got out. Domestic violence touches us all, even outside of law enforcement. I’m glad your friend had you!

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