By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Love often begins as a mixture of kismet and chemistry.
Two people meet, whether by design or chance, and something wonderful happens, a spark ignites.
The flame may burn slowly, like damped pilot light, or may flare instantly like a match thrown into dry grass.
But the hearts of both parties are nonetheless inflamed, as are their passions.
Often they marry, but these days just as often they don’t. Regardless, they set up housekeeping and, if God smiles upon them, a child enters the picture, or two, or more.
And their love grows, warming the home like a crackling fire carefully tended to chase away the winter chill.
But at some point, and often it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where and when, the story changes from one of love to something far more sinister.
Last month, a Connecticut man called police to report he had just killed his wife. She was found in the couple’s backyard swimming pool with a laceration to her throat.
A search of records revealed no previous calls to the home for incidents of domestic abuse.
In Baltimore this summer, a woman was loading her 3-year-old son in a car when she was shot to death. They later found her estranged husband dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In Miramar, Fla., in August, a woman was found fatally shot inside her home. Her husband was charged with killing her.
In April, a 22-year-old woman, a junior marketing major at Arizona State University was beaten to death with a dumbbell, then dumped in a bathtub. Her boyfriend was charged in her death.
In a handwritten note left next to the bloody dumbbell, the boyfriend wrote “I did not treat her right. She deserved better but never accepted it. So I had to make the choice for her.”
The victims aren’t always women.
A 58-year-old Minnesota man was found beaten to death in August, his body bound in plastic and duct tape, then hidden in a freezer. His 29-year-old girlfriend was charged with the murder. She allegedly killed him because he was trying to break up with her. A friend said he was leaving her because she had assaulted him.
A Texas man was fatally shot in his home, and his wife was charged with the crime. The couple had a history of domestic abuse dating back to 2010.
A September honeymoon trip to Glacier National Park ended tragically when a man died after his wife of eight days pushed him off a cliff during an argument.
Sadly, stories like these occur more than once every day.
On average, according to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every single day.
At some point in the relationship there was love, caring, devotion. But love doesn’t raise a hand in anger. Caring doesn’t cut with knives or cruel words. Devotion doesn’t leave bruises or a split lip, or worse.
It doesn’t happen only in “bad” neighborhoods, or in certain cities or in other states. It happens everywhere. One in four women have experienced domestic violence. One in four.
If someone you know is being abused, urge them to seek help. If it is happening to you, get away from your abuser as soon as you can. Your partner may weep crocodile tears and say they are sorry, that it will never happen again. But they aren’t, and it will.
Don’t know how to get help? Locally, contact the Enid YWCA. Call their main number, 234-7581, or the 24-hour crisis line, (800) 966-7644. Or you can find information on the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, ncadv.org.
Protect yourself and your children. Don’t just pray or hope things will change. If there is any change, it likely won’t be for the better.
If you are being abused, you have already become a statistic. You don’t want to become a headline, too.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.