Intimate Partner Homicide: He Would Never Really Do It…Right?

Intimate partner homicide

Intimate partner homicide is the 7th leading cause of premature death for women in the United States. It’s the number one cause of premature death among African American women between the ages of 15-45. Are those numbers not scary enough? How about this: Of all the women murdered in this country each year, half of them are killed by their intimate partners. And those figures do not include ex-boyfriends.

Is there a means to prevent these deaths? Should a woman be able to see this coming? Are there indicators that her partner is approaching the point of no return? Well, possibly.

Several risk factors have been associated with the murders of  battered women. However, many of the women who were killed by their domestic partner never realized the severity of the abuse. Sure, they knew they’d been beaten, had bones broken, etc., but they never actually thought they’d be killed. They suffered from the, “He’d never really do it because I know he loves me…” syndrome. And that’s not a bad thing, wanting to believe the best in your partner. But denying a problem is harmful, especially when it comes to abuse.

So what are some of the indicators that a partner’s violence may be escalating to the point of no return?

Studies have found a direct correlation between gun ownership and intimate partner homicide. In fact, women who are threatened with a gun are more likely than other women to be murdered—20 times more likely. Just the mere presence of a gun in the house causes an abused woman’s chance of being murdered to be 6 times higher than a woman living in a gun-free home.

Other risk factors include:

Serious alcohol and drug abuse, where the abuser is high or drunk on a daily basis.

Threats to kill



Forced sex

Partner controls all activity (when to leave the house, etc.)

Woman is beaten while pregnant

Partner beats the children

Partner is violent outside the home as well

Partner has threatened suicide

Abused victim has thoughts that her partner will attempt to kill her at some point during their relationship

Abused victim has thoughts of suicide to escape the violence

Has your partner ever done or caused any of these things? If so, you are at risk. Please seek help immediately.

– Slapping, pushing; no injuries and/or lasting pain

– Punching, kicking; bruises, cuts, and/or continuing pain

– “Beating up”; severe contusions, burns, broken bones

– Threat to use weapon; head injury, internal injury, permanent injury

– Use of weapon; wounds from weapon

Ask yourself the following questions. If your answer to any of the questions is yes, you are at risk. Please seek help immediately. Do not wait!

– Has the physical violence increased in frequency over the past year?

– Does he ever try to choke you?

– Does he keep a gun in the house? In his vehicle?

– Has he ever forced you to have sex?

– Does he use drugs? Any drugs?

– Does he threaten to kill you?

– Is he drunk every every day?

– Does he control most or all of your daily activities, like who you can be friends with, how much money you can have, or when you can take the car, when can use the phone, etc.) Does he always have to be with you when you visit family, or go shopping? Does he tell what clothing you can and cannot wear?

– Have you ever been beaten by him while you were pregnant?

-Is he extremely jealous?

– Have you ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?

– Has he ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?

– Is he violent toward your children?

– Is he violent outside of the home? Does he fight with others?

Laci Peterson – murdered by her husband, Scott.

In 2008, 14% of all homicides were committed by intimate partners (70% of the victims were female).

Scott Peterson is currently awaiting his appointment with San Quentin’s executioner. He was sentenced to death for murdering his wife and unborn child, and tossing them in the San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve of 2002. It is believed that Peterson fabricated homemade anchors from blocks of concrete and them fastened them to Laci’s body, hoping she’d remain on the bottom of the sea, forever.

Now, Peterson spends his days playing basketball and cards with other murderers. He also writes a blog. Oh, perhaps I should mention all the letters and money he receives from female admirers from all over the world. He deposits the cash into his inmate account, spending up to $180 per month on frilly things, like soda, cookies, and deodorant.

*NIJ statistics





7 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Thanks, guys, for sharing that portion of your lives. Sometimes it takes a real-life experience to open our eyes. I can’t imagine the pain and horror that you each went through, but I’m glad you’re able to talk about it.

    SZ – You might be right, and probably are, but we really don’t know what went on behind the Peterson’s closed doors. We only know what the media told us. Still, I probably chose a bad example to accompany this article. But, it feels good to see that guy in prison, and a little reminder of that once in a while is nice.

    Rick – Interesting. I hadn’t run across that information before, but it makes sense.

  2. GunDiva
    GunDiva says:

    Let’s call “forced sex” what it really is: RAPE

    Breaking the cycle of abuse is so very difficult, but so very important. The reason my mom was able to get out was because she had a doctor who was straight with her. He told her point-blank, “you’re going to get out of this marriage alright. You’ll either get out of it in a body bag or on your own terms.”

    That night, she kicked Dad out of the house after he beat her and threatened to cut her finger off to retrieve the wedding band. It was, I’m sure, the scariest thing she ever did (it was scary for us kids, too), but she got out. It was not easy and for years it was downright terrifying, but without the straight talk from the doctor, he would have killed her – and probably us too.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe says:

    The man who killed my daughter never hit her, but he had threatened to kill himself and take her with him, which is what he did about 5 months later. He was a federal agent who used his service weapon to shoot her as she was running away. Eight bullets struck her in every vital organ. Here’s the thing–a few hours before, she had called me and was going to leave him the next day.
    If you are in a situation like this, don’t wait for it to get better!

  4. R. McMahan
    R. McMahan says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall reading a study awhile back that actually sons of abused women are more likely to become abusers themselves, even more so than daughters winding up in abusive relationships.

  5. Patsy73
    Patsy73 says:

    The victim frequently thinks she deserves to be beaten. I think this came out in the OJ trial. Perhaps these women came from homes where their mothers were victims. It’s always sad when it happens, but this is grist for a lot of murder mystery plots.

  6. SZ
    SZ says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think Scott was part of the statistics, such as violent prior to the event.

    I think there would be less crime if it was not such a country club in jail. Always felt that way. I thought there was a limit on how much cash per month an inmate could spend on goodies.

Comments are closed.