When Is It Time to Call the Police?

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m a successful doctor. My husband and I are well known in our area. He’s a political leader who’s known for being good and fair.

He bruised me, again, in a fight we were having over money. I handle the finances, because he won’t. He demeans and humiliates me because I’m the money-maker. I want to make resolutions together, but he’s emotionally and physically abusive.

He hides his gun and I’m afraid he’ll get so angry that he’ll “accidently” use it on me.

He doesn’t believe me when I say I’m calling the police. He says no one will believe me. I don’t want to ruin his image or mine, but I’m afraid of him.

Should I call the police – next time?

Signed,

Fearful Wife

Dear Wife,

We’re sorry about the abuse your husband is inflicting on you. His own insecurities are probably why he wants to control you with abuse. Because you said you know it’ll happen again, we concur: it will happen again and escalate.

Anyone of any wealth, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or community status may be abused.

People who have never experienced domestic abuse have a challenging time understanding it. Pretending all is well may indeed cause your “accidental” death. It’s not uncommon.

Ask yourself the following:

Does he –

  • Insult, demean or embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Push, slap, choke, or hit you?
  • Destroy property or threaten you?
  • Tell you you’re bad?
  • Act like abuse is no big deal or tell you it’s your fault?
  • Intimidate you, with or without weapons?

Many don’t report domestic abuse. A recent survey by the National Domestic Violence Hotline found that a quarter of women who had called police to report domestic violence or sexual assault wouldn’t call again, because abuse retribution made things worse.

It may be time to get a restraining order, now, before calling the police.

Police departments train heavily on domestic abuse violations. In 2017, more officers were shot responding to domestic violence than any other type of firearm-related fatality, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

A more private route (but maybe not as safe), is to call, confidentially, 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) and also ask about private chat rooms. Remember your computer could be monitored, so find a safe place to talk freely. Dial 911 if you have bruising, blood, or your body is harmed, or any weapon is being used. Threats also count.

We want you to be able to discuss with someone what you’re going through and receive strength from hearing about your inherent worth, instead of being harmed, judged, and scared.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri