When most people think of domestic abuse, they picture the victim as a young woman. The reality, says the Las Vegas Sun, is that the abused person could be a wealthy neighbor who keeps the beatings a secret for fear of social repercussions. Or the quiet husband who's ashamed to admit his wife throws punches behind closed doors. Or a celebrity whose megawatt smile belies the shoving she endures. Or the woman who confides in police that her female partner loses her temper too often. Or the grandmother who gets pushed around by her impatient son.
Las Vegas metro police fielded nearly 60,000 calls last year from people saying they were being assailed by someone in their household. The actual number of victims is likely much higher, because many are too scared or ashamed to admit they've been abused. For nine of the past 10 years, Nevada has ranked among the top 10 states for the rate of women killed by men, says the Violence Policy Center. The center's most recent report, based on 2012 data, ranked Nevada sixth. Because domestic violence is a shadow crime without a national database tracking numbers, estimating its scope in Las Vegas as it compares with other cities is difficult. The area doesn’t lack catalysts: booze, drugs, clashing work schedules, gambling, sex and a tough economy.