Across the United States, including New York, conflict impacts far more families and couples than most of us realize. Most domestic violence cases involve people in intimate relationships, usually as partners or married couples. But often, other family members can be drawn into domestic conflict. The majority of cases draw little public attention, but when high-profile individuals are involved or victims sustain serious or fatal injuries, the subject of domestic assault and violence gets widespread but often only fleeting attention.
Disputes happen in life, especially in a marriage or a relationship. Despite this, some arguments can go much further than a verbal disagreement. A physical altercation could destroy or harm the relationship. Furthermore, this could lead to a criminal charge for a spouse or member of the couple.
Being accused of a crime can be a very serious and even damaging situation. This is especially true for celebrities and public figures. When they face a criminal charge they often also endure a damaged reputation, which could significantly affect their personal and professional life.
Football enthusiasts, including the ones in White Plains, New York, may remember Artrell Hawkins from his collegiate and professional football career. Hawkins may not have been as fortunate as other elite football players in his professional exploits. However, he may have just scored his most decisive touchdown in life when a judge found him not guilty of the domestic violence charges filed against him.
Domestic conflict is a sensitive topic in New York State just as in most states in the country. It usually involves spouses or children harmed as a result of one person's abusive behavior. Restraining orders are often served following an incident of domestic assault in hopes of preventing more incidents of abuse. More often than not, the person accused of instigating a domestic abuse incident will face criminal charges.
One Bronx couple clearly has issues to work out, hopefully, with the help of some trained mediators or therapists. According to the New York Police Department, a domestic assault between a 33-year-old man and his 22-year-old girlfriend led to a badly burned apartment and criminal charges against both of them.
People who are accused of domestic assault often have a hard time defending themselves from the public's opinion of them. Many people assume that the accused is entirely guilty and probably started the altercation in the first place.
Recently, anti-domestic violence advocates held a conference in Rockland County, New York, where October was designated as the Domestic violence awareness month. The goal of the conference and of the activists is to work to empower the victims of domestic violence to end the problem and to bring awareness to it. The activists were joined by district attorneys and local office holders who highlighted programs designed to fight domestic abuse. According to some of the activists, there is much work to be done in order to fight the problem; in New York State, there were 85,000 cases of domestic violence last year and 60 deaths. According to one estimate, one in four women will be affected by domestic violence. A Rockland County activist said that approximately 250 to 300 people came to their walk-in office per month. The conference highlighted numerous events throughout October to help victims, remember those who died, and thank supporters of their efforts.
While much of the attention directed at the social problem of domestic violence has focused on battered wives, men are also the victim of domestic abuse, a problem that is frequently overlooked. According a 2010 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25 percent of men are the victims of rape, stalking, or domestic violence by a significant other. The study's findings report a decrease in the number of domestic abuse incidents against women, but an increase in the number of incidents against men. This is likely due to the fact that domestic violence against men is still considered a taboo subject among many, as well as a source of shame and embarrassment. In addition, many male victims of domestic violence are in same-sex relationships and may not report the crime due to a fear of having their homosexual status made public. Men are considered to be the stronger gender, so being beaten by a spouse may be seen as a sign of weakness.
The borough of Staten Island is making plans to build a shelter for victims of domestic violence in response to the increasing occurrence of domestic assault arrests in the area. The shelter is being described as a "one-stop haven" where victims of domestic assault will meet with prosecutors and counselors to discuss their cases. Similar centers are already in operation in Brooklyn and Queens, with one in Manhattan also scheduled to open. The centers are operated by the New York City Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence.