The “Silent Epidemic” Of Domestic Violence By Police Officers

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National studies show that 40 percent of police families experience domestic violence, compared with 10 percent of the general public, says the Philadelphia Daily News. The paper calls it “a silent epidemic, its victims often trapped in the shadows of their own homes, lost in a debilitating mix of fear, confusion, anxiety and doubt.” Philadelphia police data show that 164 officers have had domestic-abuse complaints filed against them in the past five years. Of that lot, 11 cops were fired and criminally charged, and only three were successfully prosecuted. Most got back their old jobs. The numbers suggest that the problem is small, but domestic-violence experts say the issue is bigger than what the stats show. “That [figure] seems incredibly low to me, although not terribly surprising in that domestic-violence incidents are vastly underreported,” said Debasri Ghosh of Women’s Way, which advocates for women and funds projects to help them

Women battered by men with a badge are even less likely to report their abuse, Ghosh said. Some worry that their complaints will be covered up by their spouse’s colleagues, or have ruinous financial repercussions, like the loss of their spouse’s salary and benefits. Others fear that filing a complaint could lead their significant other to completely snap, and fulfill the darkest of their threats. Rosaura Torres of Philadelphia suffered in silence for years. Torres, 54, was married to a Philadelphia police officer who eventually ascended into the top ranks of the department. He beat, kicked and choked her for 16 years until one especially brutal beating left her with a detached retina that left her partially blind. “He made it very clear that no one would listen to me because of his position in the community,” Torres said. “He said: ‘No one’s going to listen to you. They’ll all say you’re crazy.’ And he was right.”

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