Domestic Abuse: Could Football Player’s Murder Suicide Have Been Prevented?

In Domestic Abuse Posts By Barbara, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, killed his girlfriend, the mother of his 3-month old child and then committed suicide.  First stories talked about their fighting and suggested domestic abuse was the cause but nothing had ever been reported previously to support the abuse allegations.  So much more of this story is still to be learned and jumping to conclusions about why Jovan did what he did is not fair.  But, it does once again bring to mind the fact that many women have been abused and killed by the ones that they love

We will never be able to save all of the abusers and their victims but if we would choose to approach this problem with help rather than punishment, think about how many more lives we might be able to save.
and the time has come when we find a new way to address this issue.

Obviously, taking an abuser and putting him/her in jail for a day or so and then releasing them doesn’t work.  In this day and age of better medicine and better understanding of human behavior, I can’t believe that no one is willing to undertake a different approach to dealing with an abuser.  I don’t believe that someone who can abuse another person was born that way.  I do believe that sometimes this is a learned behavior and sometimes it is the result of something that it is physically wrong or damaged.

I know that there are occasions when abusers have been sent to anger management classes and they have been greatly help.  This is definitely a good first step.  For those who do not succeed with this type of program, I believe that they should be further assessed to find what the underlying cause may be that allows a person to believe that it is okay to abuse another person in any way, shape or form.  We have a community of trained psychological professionals who are certainly in a position to make a diagnosis of the underlying causes for such behavior just as a medical doctor is expected to determine physical causes for disease.

I believe that we owe it to our communities to help one another in any way that we can.  If a family member, friend, neighbor or colleague has a medical problem, we line up to help to get them all of the professional help and assistance that they need.  The answer is no different for someone who is in need of psychological help in order to make them better and overcome their illnesses.  It is time to remove the stigma of mental health being any different than physical health.

It is too late to help Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend.  There is now a 3-month old child who has to grow up without ever knowing her real parents. That child has been cheated because no one noticed or was willing to address the problems that were those of the father.  A woman will never get to know the wonders of motherhood that she would have experienced had she had the opportunity to live a life that was not cut short by a bullet.  We will never be able to save all of the abusers and their victims but if we would choose to approach this problem with help rather than punishment, think about how many more lives we might be able to save.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-SAFE (7233) – 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).