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  • Writer's pictureApril Hardy

5 Myths About Intimate Partner Homicide

If you would rather watch/listen than read, you can find the video to this article HERE.

Intimate partner homicide... We've been talking about it the last two weeks in some form or fashion. A couple of weeks ago, I put out a video as a tribute and a memorial to women who have been killed by intimate partners or ex-intimate partners in 2020. You can check that out HERE.

In the last article, I gave 12 risk factors/red flags that will let you know that your life is potentially in danger from an intimate partner. You can check out that video HERE.

In this article, we're going to go over 5 myths about intimate partner homicide.

Myth #1 - intimate partner homicide is a crime of passion. If you watch movies and tv shows, they suggest that the person was so in love that they just couldn't help themself. They had this moment of rage and passion and they lost their mind temporarily. Temporary insanity, right? ...They don't know what they're doing. That is not true.

Actually, intimate partner homicide is a crime of possession, not a crime of passion. Intimate partner murder is generally premeditated. It's not done in the heat of the moment. If it does occur during an argument, they had already decided that it was ok to kill their significant other before that. (For example, he came to talk to his ex-girlfriend and ended up shooting her after an argument broke out, but he brought the gun to her house. He was already ok with it.)

It's a crime because people, men historically, don't believe that the woman is valuable at all. Her life is not valuable. Her comfort is not valuable. Her safety is not valuable. (In these types of relationships. Not in general.) So what's the point, he thinks. He owns her. This is a crime of possession.

Myth #2 - Women who are killed by intimate partners don't reach out for help. That is false. A study whose findings were published by the National Institute of Justice says that they're actually more likely to have reached out for help. They came to the conclusion in that study that when women are reaching out for help because they're scared it's actually an indicator that they're in more danger.

For example, you have two women who are both having a crap beat out of them. The one that reaches out for help is more likely to be dead than the one that is not. The researchers believe that means that if the women reach out for help, it's because they know that they're in more dire danger. That's very possible, because the number one sign that you're in danger for intimate prior homicide is that you're afraid for your life (that you believe you're in danger of intimate partner homicide).

Myth #3 - Intimate partner murder is always preceded by physical abuse. A lot of times it is, but it's not always. According to the National Institute for Justice's Journal, a partner's extreme jealousy has been the cause of 40% of intimate partner homicides where there was no violence before. If you read that article on iph red flags (or watched the video) you know that if the person highly ties their identity to you and they lose you, that's an excellent recipe for intimate partner homicide. In fact, that's usually when where the murder-suicides come from. It's from that loss of identity that one partner feels when they lose the relationship. Those people aren't necessarily ever violent beforehand.

Myth #4 - Guns kill people. Wrong. Well, I mean right, but wrong. People kill people. While it is true that if your abuser has access to a gun, you are actually 500% more likely to die at their hands. (Be aware of that! That is significant!) Nobody is knocking the significance there, but I want you to know that when strangulation (choking) happens, you are 750% more likely to die at their hands. Whether you die that time or you're gonna die in the future, when they go to that route - when they put their hands on you and are choking you - that is your last last step before death. If you survive at that time, you will not survive in the future if you don't get away.

Myth #5 - (This may seem like I'm not giving hope and that sucks. That's not what I want, but I do want for you to understand that this is significant. Ok?) Myth #5 is that leaving an abusive relationship will end the violence.

If you study this stuff at all you know that actually when you're in the process of leaving and for at least a year after you have left, you are in extreme danger. Not every abuser continues to pursue their victim, but if you look at the markers for these people (they believe they own you, they don't take no for an answer, they don't understand boundaries, etc.) just because you want to leave that relationship doesn't mean that they do, unfortunately.

So when we go back to myth #2, women who are killed by intimate partners don't often reach out for help, it's a little bit of the chicken and the egg situation. Right? Do they reach out for help because they're more in danger than the people that don't or are they more in danger because they reach out for help? The answer is, both. They are reaching out because they're in extreme danger and, when a victim tries to leave an abuser, if the abuser finds out that they reached out for help, it puts them in serious danger. What that is is it's taking away control of theirs and giving it back to you and some abusers will stop at nothing to get control over you again, even if that means your death.

I don't mean for this article to be super negative. I mean, we're talking about homicide so it can't be super positive. I'm just saying that you need a plan and you need a support team...somebody...multiple people. If you leave an abuser and you're at all concerned in any way that they might kill you, don't go to somebody that they know. Don't go to your mom's house. Don't go to your friend Sally's house, if they know her and they've been to her house. You run the risk of your loved ones dying too. You need to go somewhere that they don't know. You need to get help. You need to get support. That's what victim advocates, abuse shelters, crisis centers, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline are for. They will connect you with a system that your abuser doesn't know. They will connect you with people who are familiar with this stuff, who can validate and support you and do the things necessary to get you out of the system that you're in. You may not know how to do that, but they do.

If any of the stuff in the last three articles has resonated with you, if it's touching something somewhere inside of you that says this sounds like me or this sounds like my sister or this sounds like my friend, please reach out reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

If it's urgent, call 911.

Find a victim advocate. I wish that I could say that all police are trained in how to deal with this. They're not. Some are and some aren't. It's kind of like playing Russian Roulette, trying to find one that is. So the Hotline...start there.

You can email me for support too. I'm happy to email you back, but I can't be a an immediate - if your life is in danger, call the Hotline. Don't do it by yourself. Get resources. Be smart. Get help and stay alive!

Until I see you again, stay safe. Stay alive!


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