The number of hospital visits for "accidents" in the home can flag Domestic Violence.
A woman in her mid-thirties, trying to sit with modesty on the emergency room table wearing the traditional hospital robe, opening at the back refusing to close properly, has brusing beginning to turn color around her eyes, her neck and stomach. Her doctor has briefly scanned her past record and mentally ticks off the list of recent past injuries she has been treated for in this ER. She asks her patient, avoiding any alarm sounding in her voice if the woman has been treated at any other hospitals? Yes, the local County Hospital and twice at the HMO Urgent Care Facility when her husband was working last year and they had medical insurance. The doctor makes a mental note and puts a request in to her Medical Assistant to track down notes and X-rays from the other treating locations.
Unfortunately, the doctor is aware that this medical history is a common everyday occurance in every hospital ER in the country. Women in denial being abused by their spouse but claiming clumbsey accidents over and over, even going to different treatment facilities to avoid questions about their secret hell.
Legal deffinition:"Battered woman syndrome is a criminal defense involving a pattern of psychological dependency among women caught in long-term relationships with abusive male partners. Over time, abuse produces an irrational mental state of "learned helplessness," limiting free choice and placing victims of abuse in a spiral of conflict that occasionally results in a violent and sometimes fatal response over which they have no rational control."
Is there a way to avoid going to the next step? The step where inevitably a heinous crime is committed, either by the abusive spouse or by the beaten senseless woman, or even an abused son or daughter making a desperate stand against his/her mothers' abuser?
Many disciplines of medical science and law have studied multiple cases and tried to measure and calculate and probe into this problem, for the purpose of determining the cause, effects, and repercussions of familial abuse. Many organizations have sought to relieve the victims' pain and suffering through legal and social services. The next step, however, is the most critical and the least followed through. That would be the process of providing safe housing for no cost to the victim a her children so they can focus on intensive therapy for Post-Trumatic Stress, physical and emotional healing with enough time for re-training mom to have a meaningful career, building self-esteem and learning about generation cycles and how to break the bad ones and teach their children to live a higher standard and to control their own impulses. Safe-houses start this work by immediately providing a hidden residence to keep the family safe from the abuser, but what usually happens after that is the mom becomes overwhelmed by the changes and expectations and the huge realization that she must be the provider and emotional support for her damaged family even while they are healing. This is the time when many woman panic for their childrens' futures and resort to their old faulty thinking and return to the abuser rather than facing the fear that they may not be able to function independently.
This is a proposal or plan of action that could well be the salvation of these unfortunate members of our society. They could participate in a social community that would be in itself a healing environment with safety, security and training being the focal point of its' existence. They would qualify to live on a self-sustaining ranch only by reason of being an abuse victim and never been violent themselves. Their families and pets would be welcomed as long as suggested therapy and education rules were followed.
Self-sustaining ranches would have gardens and orchards for food, livestock and poultry for milk and butter and eggs, and training programs for industry such as sewing, cooking, writing, first aid and CPR, computer science, animal care, mid-wifery, medical assistant, hair dressing and other careers that would help the ranch community and eventually as well as psychological help, support and even medication when needed.
What happens when a woman is trained and ready to be employed, employment begins at the Ranch, then she starts to pay bills, moves to the area of the ranch where homes are rented and then sold to them. They learn legal aspects of homeownership and still keeping their identities confidential. Budgeting and planning ahead for childrens' college funds and beginning to turn the Generational Cycle of abuse by establishing self-identification with their successes and not ruminating on past failures. Children learn from the mothers' example as well as from being surrounded by people working to improve their own life situations.
There is a lot of information out there about crisis intervention and legal and social care, and Family Services as this is the help needed in life or death situations often connected with this abuse lifestyle, but once the woman has reached that state of awareness that she cannot change her husband or boyfriend, she will begin to see the value in starting over to remake her own life and create a healing environment for her children. We need more interest and work to create Security Ranches that can work hand-in-hand with the legal system and the social services networks to provide life sized changes in all of the victims and their children - the next generation helped and healed!