Killing Your Spouse: A Growing Trend in the Middle of Nowhere

Two wives and one husband died around here this week. All three died at the hands of their spouses. Domestic violence has always been a far-too-common crime here in southern Appalachia, but this year I wouldn’t be surprised if spouse-beating isn’t the most common cause of death –– for both spouses.

On Monday, a husband shot his spouse. He thought he had worked out a big elaborate plan including an alibi. Fortunately, he’s not as smart as he thinks he is, so it all fell apart the moment he started that no-tears crying. The second one wasn’t much different, except the wife survived. Police don’t think this one was planned and the couple’s trailer showed evidence of a struggle. The wife said he was going to shoot her and then they battled for the gun.

The third one happened yesterday and I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this. The couple had been married for 20 years, since high school. Both came home from work and an argument soon started. Ill feelings continued brewing while they went through supper and putting their two young boys to bed. Once the kids were asleep, those feelings flowed into words and then action. The man said he had enough and he picked lifted her petite body up, looked her in the eye and strangled her to death. He put her body on the couch and sat in his favorite chair for a few hours. Finally, at about 1 a.m., he went down to the sheriff’s department and turned himself in, asking police to call his sister-in-law to go get the boys.

Maybe I just hear more about these cases because I’m in a small town. Is domestic violence this common where you live? Last year, we didn’t have but about four murders in my county and the surrounding counties. All four were killed by husbands and wives, boyfriends or girlfriends. Those are just the fatal cases. Our county has a facility for female domestic violence victims, but few people seem to take advantage of it.

I do have a co-worker that I suspected was a victim of domestic violence. She never admitted it, but she planned to move out on a Saturday while he was at work. I encouraged her to call the police in case he came home from work early. She refused. Luckily, her divorce went through without any incidents and she’s just so much happy now. My cousin was also a victim of domestic violence and my family could not do anything to stop it, despite our constant pleandings and open doors. Her husband eventually killed a retired school teacher…God only knows why. He’s still in prison and my cousin has since remarried to a man who treats her wonderfully. Perhaps it’s God’s way of making up for her first marriage.

Anna Quindland’s novel, Black and Blue, is an excellent resource for those who would like an insider’s view on domestic violence. The novel is fiction, but it was written after lots of research.

I’m just curious…is domestic violence as common across the country as it is here in the middle of nowhere?

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