DRHOOK- Help! Domestic violence victims often powerless

the handsome doctor John Hong of Charlottesville

Drag queens love divas. When drag queens start impersonating a star, that star is immortalized: Cher, Tina Turner, Liza– and now Rihanna. Even at the ice rink, I hear Rihanna, but don't ask me how the songs go. I have to admit: I'm just not that into her music. 

But for unfortunate reasons, I know a lot about Rihanna since her no-show at the Grammy Awards– because her boyfriend Chris Brown beat her up. Let me tell you something: if any Rihanna drag queens had been there to defend the real Rihanna, they would have clawed Brown's eyes out with their Lee Press On Nails and made sure he never hurt anyone again!

What is domestic violence?

I think about 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the beginning of the movie, under-evolved people learn to beat and kill others using bones as weapons. The Neanderthal man throws a bone into the sky, and the movie pans to 2001, with space ships and modern-day people in crisp uniforms. 

But as they say, "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy." The same goes with violence in our world.

Domestic Violence (DV) is intentional controlling or violent behavior within an intimate relationship. The nature of the violence is physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse, and/or social isolation of the victim.

The U.S. Department of Justice back in 1992-93 estimated one million women and 150,000 men were sexually or physically abused by their partners (you sure can't use the term "better half"). In reported cases of DV that lead to a criminal investigation, 95 percent of the time the victims are women; 5 percent of the time they're men.

Another US survey showed that 16 percent of couples had reported an incident of physical violence within the year before the survey. Some emergency department studies have shown 9 to 14 percent of women in an abusive relationship and 54 percent with a past history of abusive relationships. DV is the number-one cause of trauma in females 15-44 years of age.

Physical abuse is slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, slamming someone against a wall or floor, or anything to hurt the victim. Nonconsensual sex is sexual assault. The violent outbursts are intermittent and often unpredictable, on average six times a year– and that makes the victim walk on eggshells all the time. Fear of the next outburst makes life a living hell. 

It is difficult for most victims to get out of the relationship because the abuser has full control of their lives. Usually, the abuser controls the finances, so the victim is basically penniless without the abusive partner. 

Look at Tina Turner. After making millions, she left her abusive husband, Ike, with something like 30 cents in her pocket.

The abuser puts a "Berlin Wall" around the victim to inhibit relationships with friends and family. So there's no one for the victim to rely on and no place to escape. 

Victims of domestic violence often grew up in unstable violent environments, so it's hard for them to understand that a better life can be possible. And the perpetrator makes the victim feel she's to blame for the violence against her. Often after an incident he promises the violence will never happen again. Rihanna, are you listening? 

Men are victims as well, but incidents of woman-on-man violence are probably underreported because for societal reasons. I once got a glimpse on the Internet of a woman beating her husband on the street in front of a lot of people, and no one stopped her. It was posted on the Internet to be funny as she humiliated her spouse. But it wasn't funny.

For more information on domestic violence and to get help, people can contact the Shelter for Help in Emergency at 293-8509 or shelterforhelpinemergency.org.


Dr. Hook cracks a joke or two, but he's a renowned physician with a local practice. Email him with your questions.