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When domestic violence turns deadly - hidden risks for women

Karns & Kerrison

Domestic violence is a fairly common term, and Rhode Island news broadcasters often mention the dangers of abusive homes for spouses and children. Sometimes simple disagreements can escalate into violence quickly when those involved are especially tired, stressed or frustrated with life. 

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is doing its part to prevent abuse in homes, and one aspect of the strategy is publishing statistics. In 2016, the coalition provided numbers, stating that every year in Rhode Island, authorities in the state make more than 5,000 arrests related to domestic violence. 

Going further to differentiate how the dangers of abusive homes differ for men and women, the coalition noted 84 percent of victims in intimate partner homicides were female; 90 percent of the perpetrators were male. These numbers suggest women enduring domestic violence situations in Rhode Island are at serious risk. 

But there is another risk for females that does not get a lot of attention. Those in homes where intimate partners become violent at times are also in danger of traumatic brain injury. A blow to the head may not seem all that hard but could potentially cause a mild TBI that has long-lasting effects.

The National Women's Health Network is shedding light on this growing problem, pointing out how essential it is for thought leaders in the field to address it. The NWHN applauds growing public awareness of the seriousness of brain trauma but suggests the danger of TBIs for women has remained mostly out of the spotlight. 

With the fragile nature of the female skull, however, and the more delicate bones and muscles, women experience higher risks for serious injury when involved in a fight with an intimate partner. 

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