We should take domestic violence more seriously
Melissa Jeltsen writes in the Huffington Post:
In the years before Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel made the reprehensible decision to commit mass murder by ramming his truck into a crowd gathered for a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, France, he terrorized his own family.
He beat his wife, Hajer Khalfallah, and his mother-in-law, his wife’s lawyer told the French newspaper Le Parisien. He was prone to verbal tirades and violent outbursts. His father described him as periodically erupting and breaking everything in sight. One neighbor who visited his apartment said it was “very tense,” with clothes tossed around and overturned chairs. Another neighbor recalled having to physically restrain Lahouaiej Bouhlel from hitting his wife.
In one particularly disturbing incident, he allegedly defecated on his daughter’s bed. He had also thrust a knife into one of his children’s stuffed animals, neighbors said, twisting out its insides.
Four days after Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 84 people, a portrait has begun to emerge of the mass murderer ― not as a religious extremist but as an angry, volatile man who physically and verbally abused those closest to him on a regular basis.
As The Huffington Post has previously reported, this story is tragically familiar. In the past few years, many of the men who have committed heinous, unthinkable acts of violence against the public have had a history of abusing the women in their lives. Prior to unleashing their deranged violence onto the world, it appears they practiced it against the most vulnerable and accessible targets ― those living inside their homes.
Before Micah Johnson gunned down five Dallas police officers, in the deadliest attack against law enforcement officers in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001, he was accused of sexually harassing a female soldier, who asked that Johnson receive mental help and for a protective order against him.
Before Omar Mateen opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, he beat his wife.
Before Robert Dear shot to death three strangers at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs last fall, he allegedly abused his wives, was charged with rape and arrested under a “Peeping Tom” law.
Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted bombs at the Boston Marathon with his brother in 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend.
Before Cedric Ford went on a shooting rampage in Kansas, killing three and injuring 14, he was served with a restraining order stemming from a domestic violence complaint filed by his ex-girlfriend. In her request for the order, his ex-girlfriend wrote that it was her belief that he was “in desperate need of medical and psychological help.”
Before gunman Man Haron Monis seized hostages in a cafe in Sydney, he was released on bail after being charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.
And so on.
And so on.
And so on.
Tragically, there are scores of other examples like these. To be sure, not all abusive men turn into killers; they are a minuscule percentage of the whole. But domestic violence is far too common, with 1 in 4 women expected to be a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime. . .
In other words, domestic violence is not just a problem in itself and in the home. Sometimes it is an indicator of a much more serious predilection for mass murder.