May 9, 2007

Brain injury And Domestic Violence

As a survivor of traumatic brain injury inflicted upon me during a "domestic violence" assault (a misnomer if there ever was one, but ill tackle that later) I found the following information, culled from the brain injury blog compelling....

ie did you know that Domestic Violence is a leading cause of brain damage to women.
Greater than 90% of all injuries secondary to domestic violence occur to the head, neck or face region
30% of battered women reported a Loss of Consciousness at least once
81% reported cognitive, emotional and physical complaints identical to individuals who have experienced a brain injury.
The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has developed an excellent teaching tool to enhance the awareness of domestic violence service providers on brain injury and its prevalence in these victims. The program was inspired by the understanding that the "lack of knowledge about brain injury and its functional after-effects may result in less than successful outcomes for these individuals"

The brain injury resources are presented in four modules:

the mechanisms of TBI and it's effects on individuals
the association of brain injury with domestic violence events
how to identify those sustaining a TBI due to domestic violence, with techniques that staff can use for accommodating TBI changes in their clients
available Statewide TBI services and resources
The manual containing these brain injury resources including a PowerPoint presentation can be accessed by clicking here.

Several years ago I was asked to give a presentation on this topic to the National Crime Victims Bar Association in Washington D.C. where I served on its advisory board. I advocated then and still do that victims of domestic violence bring a law suit for the brain damage they sustained against their violent spouse in addition to suing for divorce. The domestic relations lawyer would be well served to affiliate with a brain injury lawyer for this portion of the case.*

I would have been thrilled if the inept prosecutors in my criminal case had appeared to have or cared to have-- one whit of knowledge regarding TBI and it's immediate and long term consequences -Instead I had to practically stand on my injured head trying to convince them of the brutality of the crime committed against me and the daily physical seleleque following having my head repeatedly slammed first into a plaster wall and then the floor, alternating with pummelling on my temples and choked- for what felt like hours but was in reality about 25 minutes. Add to this, being held captive in my home all night fully believing that I was dying from severe brain injury, terrified to fall asleep, yet fighting a half counscious somnolent state from the severe swelling bruising of my repeatedly concussed brain. I
Over at Golden hill street court GA2 in Bridgeport Connecticut the prosecutors assigned to my case seemed equally as ignorant and apathetic regarding PTSD and its effects on victims of this kind of violence.
I can honestly say as a victim of domestic violence the dismissive attitude, lack of support and compassion- and ultimately justice, experienced within the walls of that court was all easily more destructive and damaging than the very brutal assault that brought me there.
And there is simply put No excuse for it.