I left work a little somber and with a heavy heart today. During some introspection, I realized that I had one of those common days in clinic when I’ve seen a number of women in a row with depression and/or anxiety. Today, however, was a little different in that one of these women had been abused by her husband.
heard something about the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation, which is one that is shocking and depressing at the same time. If you haven’t, both are popular R&B singers and are young at 19 and 21 years old, respectively. I don’t claim to know all the facts about the situation, and in no way am I passing any judgment on the case. However, the issue at hand is one of physical abuse.
Domestic violence, which now includes intimate partner or dating violence now, seems to be occurring now at younger and younger ages. The CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) notes that in 2008, 1 in 4 adolescents complain of abuse from a boyfriend or girlfriend each year. That’s 25%! Abuse in this case included physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. We have to start talking to our children earlier now. Also, one large factor that leads to dating violence, among others, is seeing it at home, which is what is being reported in Chris Brown’s case.
The woman that I saw today in clinic was in her 30’s, had been married to a loving man for many years, and never would have expected this sort of behavior from him. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this situation, even in the few years I’ve been practicing, more often than I’d like to think. What is also unfortunate is we have to expect this now in many married women. I realize now that I need to include this conversation with my teens, even during something as simple as their yearly sports physical. My patient today, who of course will remain nameless, is married to a male patient of mine that I’ve treated for alcoholism. The wife is a strong mother, committed to her child and her personally owned business. She was and is committed to helping her husband get sober and keeping their marriage intact. She came in today with a black eye.
She told me about the fight, how it began with her inebriated husband, and ended with him forcing himself upon her and starting a fight while her young child slept in the next room. It ended with punches and screams. I can only imagine what this woman must feel like and the strength it took to pick herself up, grab her child from the house, and call the police. I can only imagine how it would feel to be in your 20’s, supposedly in love for the 1st or 2nd time, and hit by someone you believed cared for you.
10% of teens note that within the past 12months, they’ve suffered some form of abuse from someone they’re dating. We need to be aware of the warning signs, such as the following for who may become an aggressor, including: (from CDC)-alcohol or drug use-problems at school-association with violent people-lack of parental supervision
I don’t know what facts we’ll ultimately find out about the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation, but I pray that both parties will find the help they need. I ask my teens and adolescents about dating violence during their physicals now. I ask that parents now begin to have the conversation at home as well. Prevention is the key.
Be healthy and be blessed,Dr. Price