Close to Home

Domestic violence is a crime that police say is on the rise — right here in Greenwich



illustration by matt collins

(page 1 of 3)

She drew the line at her husband physically assaulting her. In a relationship that spanned nearly two decades, including fifteen years of marriage, Barbara Hamilton (not her real name) had endured countless tirades and beratings from her husband. Something as inconsequential as the bed being left unmade was enough to spark an outburst.

But even as his verbal attacks grew in intensity, Barbara considered them the result of stress from work or simply avoided thinking about them altogether. Being that she was so busy with her own high-pressure job and the couple’s two children also served to push the incidents from her thoughts. The best she could do, she figured, was weather the storms, which were always followed by profuse apologies, and try to minimize whatever perceived problems ignited them.

“There was this one battle,” says Barbara, who lives in Greenwich. “It was a Saturday morning, and I don’t even know what the whole thing was about, but I was sitting on the bed and he
was screaming. And I thought to myself, ‘Please, just hit me, and I can leave.’ ”

But the physical attack came much later. By then, the kids were also under siege, enduring both verbal and physical abuse. Barbara, who was once optimistic, strong and outgoing, was gradually reduced to a weaker, hollow version of herself. “It can happen so slowly and over such a long period of time,” she says, “that you don’t realize what’s happening to you.”  Today, if Barbara blames herself for anything, it is that she allowed her husband to vent his rage on the children, often berating and striking them, for too long before she took action. “I didn’t stop it until it happened to me,” she says of the physical attacks, her voice cracking. “I should have stopped it sooner. Why didn’t I? Why didn’t I?”

Shocking Frequency

In truth, domestic abuse occurs more than many of us realize. It transcends socioeconomic backgrounds, education, race, sexuality, religion and age. It happens in backcountry mansions and housing-project apartments. The worst cases make headlines — Greenwich has had two domestic-violence related homicides in the past few years — but because of shame and fear many victims bear the physical and emotional pain in silence. The effects, however, reverberate even further: Domestic abuse tends to be passed down to children who witness it; consequently, they grow up to become abusers or victims themselves. Some 80 percent of domestic-abuse victims are women.

“People are always surprised that these horrible acts take place in their community, their backyard, in the apartment above them, or when they see a coworker coming into work who looks disheveled or has a bruise,” says Suzanne Adam, director of Domestic Abuse Services for the YWCA of Greenwich. “It’s a shock to realize that it’s so close to home.”

The YWCA received nearly 7,300 calls to its 24-hour domestic-violence hotline in 2007-2008, up 66 percent from the year before. Callers range from victims themselves, to friends of those experiencing domestic abuse, to doctors and social-service professionals seeking advice.  Everyone who answers the hotline must be certified in counseling battered women and update their training each year. Victims or those concerned about them are counseled as to how to stay safe and are provided with information about resources available through the YWCA and elsewhere, be it police, legal services, medical care or any number of agencies equipped to help.

The Greenwich police, meanwhile, average close to 220 domestic-violence related arrests each year, making it among the most frequently investigated crimes in town, second only to larceny. With the holidays and the recent economic crisis ratcheting up everyone’s stress levels, officials were expecting a record number of domestic–violence cases during the last fiscal year. “There are a lot of relationships that are crumbling or deteriorating because of the strife with the economy,” says Police Lieutenant Richard Cochran, who oversees and follows up on each of the police department’s domestic violence investigations. “A lot of pressures are being brought home.”

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Networking Event

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce will hold its October After Six Networking event. All are invited to exchange business cards, enjoy appetizers and...

  • October After Six

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Join us for After Six Networking at the Delamar Hotel

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

    2014.10.23

    Athome Magazine celebrates Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' fall collection with fabulous vignettes from some of your favorite A-List designers....

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Oktoberfest 2014 Greenwich United Way

    2014.10.24
     @ Loading Dock

    Greenwich United Way’s sixth annual “Oktoberfest” fundraiser is set for Friday, October 24 at Stamford’s Loading...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...

  • The Wilton Fall Antiques Market

    2014.10.26
     @ Wilton High School Field House

    Barnstar Productions and the Wilton Historical Society will present the Wilton Antiques Market. More than 80 exhibitors are expected to...

  • La Soirée d’ Automne at Bistro Versailles

    2014.10.27
     @ Bistro Versailles and Patisserie

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other attendees...

  • Explore the Bruce Museum

    2014.10.28
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us at the Bruce Museum for a private tour of the inaugural showing in the U.S. of “Northern Baroque Splendor: The Hohenbuchau Collection...

  • Educational Seminar - Effective Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills

    2014.10.29
     @ Greenwich Library

    Are you sure you are putting your best foot forward in your job hunt?  What will make employers pick your resume and ask you for an interview?...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Henry & Me
    Greenwich
  2. Joie Shopping Event
    Joie Greenwich
  3. B2B Blast Off Event
    Greenwich
  4. Go For Pink
    Greenwich Avenue
  5. GRTA Hunt Ball Patron Party
    Conyers Farms