DV and Violence Against Pets
Domestic violence is in fact the abuse of power over the less dominant partner by the one who is seeking to control the other. It occurs when a partner exploits any relationship by means of pressurising or exercising power against the other partner. Usually domestic abuse is physical, but sometimes it may appear in some indirect form involving threatening and controlling behaviors of the partner, irritating the partner by causing harm to personal property or abusing the family pet. A family pet is always a very powerful tool that many abusers use to harass and coerce the victim.
Counselors hear so many cases of domestic abuse from women whose partners threaten to or actually do physically abuse their pets in order to make these women think about the consequences of leaving a violent situation. As a result of this threat or abuse, many women do not seek immediate assistance to escape. There are some studies that show nearly 40% of women delay their escape from the violent situation by three months only because of the safety of their family pets.
The offenders of domestic violence not only abuse their family members, but also abuse their family pets. Some studies have correlated a relationship between abuse of animals and domestic violence. The acts of cruelty to animals not only show the personality flaws of the abuser, they are also indications of the mental disturbance of the abuser. Furthermore, some studies in criminology and psychology have shown that people who abuse animals do not stop here and many of them abuse their fellow humans. Robert K. Ressler, who made profiles of various serial killers for the Federal Board of Investigation, said that many murders start by torturing and killing family pets and animals.
Studies of criminal psychology have shown that more aggressive criminals were involved in animal abuse at a younger age as compared to less aggressive criminals. Results of a survey of psychiatric patients who tortured their dogs and cats repeatedly also had an aggressive approach towards humans as well. A police study in Australia published in the New South Wales Newspaper revealed that 100 % offenders of sexual homicide had a past history of animal abuse.
Pet abuse is one of the most important elements in domestic violence, according to a six year study that was conducted in 11 metropolitan cities of the United States. This study also showed that in almost all cases of pet abuse, the offenders have controlled their partners by threatening to harm or actually abusing the family pets.
Studies have also revealed that between 71 to 83 % of women victims of domestic abuse that enter in domestic violence shelters report that their partner or abuser have also killed or abused their family pet. Another study on families that were under supervision because of the abuse of their children, showed that pet abuse existed for 88% of such cases.
There are reports that female victims of domestic violence have lived in their cars for up to 4 months until they found a safe and pet friendly shelter.
Because of domestic violence, pets may suffer severe harm, injuries, permanent disabilities from the abuser, and they may even run away from the home due to the violence.
25% to 40% women who are abused by their husbands or boyfriends do not feel that they can escape from their violent situations only because they think about their pets that what will happen to them if they leave the home.
68% women victims of domestic violence reported that their pets have been abused by the abusers. 87% of these pet abuse cases happened in the presence of the abused women, and 75% of cases occurred in the presence of the kids, only to psychologically control and coerce the victims.
Note: I have seen and am very aware of the hardship faced by women who have nowhere to take their pets when they leave a violent relationship. The Loving Heart Foundation’s aim is to lessen the burden of that by incorporating a solution to this problem into everything we do.
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The first novel in our series of seven is now published, and is a courageous story of a young teen growing up in a home filled with domestic violence, and how she manoeuvres her way through such a difficult situation. Click here if you’d like to know more about this novel.
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