Traumatic brain injury and domestic violence (retro)

TBI  Retro SLHLE.jpg

Unless you’re a scientist, therapist, someone caring for a brain injured person or a victim who sustained a head injury, the brain is not something that most of us think about. The average citizen surely does not pause to think about just how fragile the most complex part of the human body, the brain, really is. The nearly three-pound organ, stored neatly inside of it’s bony shell, holds thousands of our secrets and most precious and darkest memories, controls our stop and go behavior buttons, acts as the starter kit for our movements, and plays the role of interpreter to our senses and dreams. Now that information is becoming readily available, more people are at least starting to talk about Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI.

So, what exactly is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)? TBI is an acquired injury to the brain that’s caused by external physical force. It’s not something a person is born with. Sometimes it occurs during a car accident, after a fall from a bicycle, following an explosion, after a gunshot wound to the head, after being held hostage, etc.

Unfortunately, it’s sometimes caused at the hands of or by an intimate partner. The area above the neck is one of the most common targets of intimate partner assaults. In fact, studies on the incidence of TBI in domestic violence (DV), conducted in 1999 (Monohan and O’Leary), revealed greater than 90% of all injuries secondary to domestic violence occur to the head, neck or face region. In another study involving three domestic violence shelters, according to the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (NYS OPDV):

  • 92% of the victims had been hit in the head by their partners, most more than once.
  • 83% had been both hit in the head and severely shaken.

TBI is not always visible, but it may cause enduring physical, emotional, intellectual, and other changes for those surviving the injuries. There are studies that indicate long-term effects of TBI place an enormous emotional and financial burden on the individual’s family and strains medical and other service systems due to the high costs and often life-long needs. But the fact remains: The horrors and tragedies that one relives due to a TBI at the hands of an intimate or any partner are unimaginable.

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Retro: I wrote this article while writing for the Examiner.com April 25, 2010. I’ll be doing research on the latest science related to TBI and domestic violence so if anyone has new data, please let me know.  -cjstorm

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~ by cjstorm on March 16, 2016.

14 Responses to “Traumatic brain injury and domestic violence (retro)”

  1. My estranged son has gone through a lot of TBI stuff. At a year old he fell down a flight of concrete steps, going from the third step to land on top of his head, when the person supposed to be watching him, wasn’t. Then throughout his childhood, he would be running and run into an electrical box mounted on a wall, getting a jar and cut, falling from the top of a slide to the ground while at pre-school, falling off of something he was climbing on, etc. A doctor told me at one point he couldn’t “guarantee” my son anymore…odd comment huh?! Meaning his warranty was revoked from all these falls he had? In junior high, he was knocked out in football.

    On the surface, it didn’t seem to bother him, as he got ok to good grades, has his Master’s in psychology and is a counselor but the more I hear about TBI, I wonder how all this affected him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sometimes it is hard to say just how badly somebody is affected by TBI. My younger brother has been hit in the head quite severely on numerous occasions. I see it everyday just how he is affected by it. It has made his autism worse and he tends to space out more than most people would find to be normal daydreaming. I am certainly no doctor, but I believe there are a myriad of mitigating circumstances that determine one’s actual outcome after such an injury.

      Wonderful that your son has achieved so much considering his injuries! The Lord is watching over him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Katelon, that does seem an odd thing to say… I’m glad to hear that your son’s injuries didn’t stop him from succeeding with his education.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cj…I’m not sure what you felt was odd about my sharing…I’m sorry. I was just responding to the article about TBI and the concerns and question add I’ve had over the years after watching my son go through so many injuries. Perhaps you were referring to the doctor’s comment.

        I was quite the climber growing up and an adventurer, but my falls tended to affect my spine and tailbone.

        I am a football fan but am aware of how much injury the sport has caused and grateful for the player who tragically took his life due to TBI, but saved his head in his suicide to bring attention to the seriousness of these injuries.

        It is especially tragic that women and children in abuse cases have to suffer so.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Katelon, I’m sorry I didn’t clarify – my comment was in response to the doctor telling you he ‘couldn’t guarantee’ your son anymore. That’s not something a parent would expect to hear…

      Thanks for adding that injuries affect people in different ways, not all of them result in a head injury. You also touched on the fact that for some who do suffer from a TBI, like the football player Adrian Robinson Jr., the pain can be too much.

      I really appreciate your comments and always welcome your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Being a survivor of sa/rape/dv I found this article so enlightening. Rarely will I talk about or share it publicly, however. I do not want to relive it any deeper than I had in therapy. But I do agree that TBI can be and is a direct result of such horrible experiences. I had a very physically abusive marriage as well as a history of child sexual abuse. Being raped at the age of fourteen did not help matters any.

    CJ, I could tell you things that would make most people puke. But I am sure you have heard many similar accounts. I do not know what can be harder; enduring the event or hearing it over and over from so many women who have been assaulted. I envy you not your job. But thank God there are caring, devoted, and compassionate people such as yourself to help those who have endured and continue to endure such torture. And it is torture.

    God bless you and thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lizzy, I’m really sorry you’ve had so many painful experiences. Thanks for being so honest and brave enough to share. I never want to cause you or anyone harm from sharing stories such as these. I share because I do care and hope those who find my page find a virtual place to escape, peace and resources.

      I also hope others, those who don’t have a connection to people who suffer from sa/rape/dv and other forms of violence, see that victims and survivors deserve and need compassion, patience and understanding.

      Thanks for the kind words and all the support! God bless you also! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The pain is behind me now. I set it all at the foot of the cross and there it will stay. The wounds may be healed but the scars remain as a testimony of Jesus’ healing grace.

        BTW — Keep sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the informative post. Its a topic that should be discussed. Its so easy for many women to shrug off their injuries; that they will heal and life will go on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mliae, thanks so much for the comment! I totally agree that many victims/survivors discount or may not be aware that some of the effects of TBI could last a lifetime (memory loss, being triggered and not knowing why…). There are also those who are truly there to support victims/survivors (family, friend, etc.), who mean well, but believe they should just ‘…get over it…’ and ‘move on.’ It’s easier said than done; and most who’ve experienced that much trauma would rather not live with the aftermath.

      Thanks again for sharing-
      cj

      Liked by 1 person

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