Bar News - August 16, 2017
Morning Mail: Drugs and Alcohol Not Responsible for Domestic Violence
In the July 19 issue of Bar News, there was a well-intentioned article regarding what we, as attorneys, can do to help address domestic violence issues. While I agree with addressing domestic violence, there was a line in the article which has bothered me. It read: “Her boyfriend, who seemed like a decent kid just two years ago when they were in school together, has started drinking and doing drugs. When he does, he becomes a control freak. He lashes out.”
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: domestic violence occurs because of abusers. To borrow outdated and somewhat offense legal language, think of “abuser” as a mental disease or defect. A person who possesses the mental disease or defect of “abuser” commits acts of domestic violence. Alcohol and drugs are not responsible for domestic violence, abusers are.
Abusers may use drugs or alcohol; but “decent kids” don’t suddenly consume drugs or alcohol and give their girlfriends black eyes. As attorneys we should not make excuses for, or minimize the actions of, abusers by writing off their actions to drugs or alcohol.