Divorce and deadly intentions: Women exposed to risk

There have been two mass shootings so far this year that didn't make the biggest headlines -- although they were the deadliest.

One just recently happened in Plano, Texas, where nine died. The other occurred over Memorial Day weekend in Mississippi, leaving eight dead. The common traits between the two were striking:

  • Both of the intended victims were women
  • The additional victims were their friends and supporters
  • The women had recently left bad marriages
  • The shooters were their husbands

Maybe that's exactly why the media didn't cover the stories as extensively as they did some other mass shootings.

Shootings where a stranger suddenly lets loose on a crowd of other strangers are hard for people to wrap their minds around. They're unpredictable and add to a sense that the world is already chaotic so the news covers the stories over and over, hoping to make sense of them.

Violence after a woman leaves her spouse or boyfriend, however, is a different kind of violence: it's utterly predictable. It's widely acknowledged that -- while women are urged to leave abusive and controlling relationships -- leaving opens them up to escalated violence from the person they're trying to escape.

In fact, the problem is so prevalent that it might surprise people to learn that the majority of mass shootings are related to domestic violence -- not domestic terrorism. It's simply that domestic terrorism makes more interesting headlines because there's nothing unique about a young woman -- or a woman of any age -- being shot to death by a spurned paramour of some sort. If the shooter takes out her supporters, especially family or friends that may have helped the women leave, that's also to be expected.

Domestic violence is a serious problem -- and it can escalate if you're seeking a divorce. If you have any fears at all of retaliation for leaving or asking for a divorce, talk to your attorney right away about your concerns.

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