“Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.”-Mark Overby
One week after former NFL star Steve McNair was murdered by his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, retired boxing champion Arturo Gatti was found strangled to death in a hotel room. Gatti’s 23-year-old wife, Amanda Rodrigues, will likely be charged with murder. The most powerful human emotion, love can be triumphant and catastrophic. Dr. Barbara Lattimore, director of Fulton County Department of Mental Health, provides information on how a couple’s love for each other can turn deadly.-amir shaw
What are the main causes of domestic homicide?
Dr. Barbara Lattimore: When we are examining domestic violence, we are looking at power and control that comes out in the form of abuse. This is when one person is asserting power and control over another person. That abuse can become fatal. In Steve McNair’s situation, it was obviously a case of power and control. When the young woman discovered that he might terminate the relationship, her need for power and control surfaced in the form of abuse that became deadly. In her mind, she thought, “If I can’t have him, no one can have him.”
What are three signs of a potentially deadly relationship?
1. Extreme Jealousy
2. Over Possessiveness
3. Violent Outbursts
If a person displays those signs, can they be helped?
There is help. The first step is to acknowledge that there is a problem. You then have to want or convince that person to receive help for their problems. There are a number of agencies where you can receive help. You can visit Partnerships Against Domestic Violence, there are crisis hotlines and you can talk to a licensed counselor. The main thing is to seek help outside of yourself.
What is the best way to break up with a person who is emotionally unstable?
You have to be very careful. You may have to establish a safety plan for yourself if you know that breaking up with this person may lead to violence. Sometimes, you have to get a restraining order. But you have to always let family and friends know where you will be and make sure that you are in a position to get help if anything unusual happens. The first few days of breaking away, you have to be protected. You can never be too careful.
Dr. Barbara Lattimore has a PhD in Community Health and has served as the Director of Fulton County Department of Mental Health for five years.