NEW LEXINGTON — Home is normally where one can find support and happiness, and a nice break from our every day busy schedules of work, school, etc. However, for some, it’s anything but a sanctuary. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.
Every nine seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other; and in addition, one in four men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
People who are in an abusive relationship will stay with their partner for a number of reasons, including:
• Their self-esteem is totally destroyed, and they are made to feel they will never be able to find another person to be with.
• The cycle of abuse, meaning the ‘honeymoon phase’ that follows physical and mental abuse, makes them believe their partner really is sorry and does love them.
• It’s dangerous to leave. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time in the relationship, according to the Domestic Violence Intervention program.
• Statistics suggest that almost five percent of male homicide victims each year are killed by an intimate partner.
• They feel personally responsible for their partner, or their own behavior. They are made to feel like everything that goes wrong is their fault.
• They share a life. Marriages, children, homes, pets, and finances are a big reason victims of abuse feel they can’t leave.
Domestic violence can take many forms including physical aggression or assault; sexual abuse; controlling or domineering behavior; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse.
While domestic abuse strikes couples of all races, religions, social economic status, sexual orientation, no one wants to endure abuse at the hands of their partner.
One local Perry County woman recently fell victim to domestic violence and feared for her life. She was allegedly held captive for approximately two weeks while her former boyfriend allegedly beat, raped and tortured her continuously.
She was able to finally flee from his control and the man is now behind bars after being arraigned on 12 felony charges related to domestic violence.
According to court documents received from the Perry County Common Pleas Court, James R. Doughty was arrested on May 10, booked into Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, and is accused of domestic violence, felonious assault, kidnapping, aggravated menacing, rape and violating a protection order.
Doughty was indicted by the Perry County Grand Jury on June 25 and arraigned two days later. He is charged with seven third-degree felonies; two second-degree felonies; two first-degree felonies; and one first-degree misdemeanor.
A first-degree felony is punishable of up to 11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; second-degree felony, up to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and a third-degree felony is punishable of up to 60 months in prison and $10,000 fine.
He remains in SEORJ on a $250,000 cash or surety bond. If he makes bond, other conditions include — he will be ordered to wear a court GPS monitoring system; call and report to adult probation while case is pending; must maintain current address and telephone; shall have no con contact with the victim or victim’s family members; random drug tests at the discretion of adult probation department; no illegal drugs; remain in contact with his attorney.
Family members of the victim and the victim spoke to The Perry County Tribune and said Doughty caused the victim physical and mental harm for nearly two weeks while allegedly holding her captive. He allegedly beat her with the butt-end of a shotgun; stabbed her; choked her, strangled her, kicked and punched her and tried to suffocate her with a plastic trash bag.
The victim had a protection order against Doughty from a previous domestic violence incident, but had been back and forth with him thinking things would eventually get better. However, they didn’t, and the violence escalated to the point where she was in extreme fear for her life.
“I couldn’t say anything that made him believe me,” the victim stated. “It didn’t matter what I said — to him it was all lies.”
While this allegedly is not the first time in the three-year relationship that Doughty abused the victim, it is the first time the harm got to be this extreme and dangerous. According to court documents, Doughty has previously pled guilty to or has been convicted of two or more offenses of domestic violence.
The court documents also state that Doughty by force, threat or deception, restrained the victim for the purpose of terrorizing, or inflicting serious harm on her. It is a first-degree felony to hold a person against their will and is punishable up to 11 years in prison with a $20,000 fine.
Doughty also allegedly raped the victim; according to court documents, engaged in sexual conduct with the victim by force or threat of force. This is also a first-degree felony charge.
Domestic violence can happen to couples that are married, living together or who are dating. Abuse can be described not only as physical, but also sexual, emotional, economical or psychological actions or threats that may influence another person by behavior, intimidation, terrorizing, manipulation, humiliation, or injuring and wounding someone.
According to statistics, at least 10 murder/suicides occur each week in the country, almost all perpetrated with guns.
The risk of a woman being killed by an intimate partner significantly increases when the abuser has access to a gun and has made previous threats or assaults with a gun, threatens murder, is extremely jealous, or is physically violent with increasing severity and/or frequency, according to the National Domestic Violence data source.
The risk of homicide also is increased if the victim has recently separated from the offender, or the offender stalks the victim.
While alcohol, poverty, mental illness and other factors may play roles in domestic violence; there is no rational justification for a selfish act like taking someone else’s life or harming another.
Although the statistics are staggering, the danger is real and those who believe they are being abused should reach out for help. Everyone has the right to feel safe in a relationship.
“He threatened me everyday,” said the victim. While the victim told the newspaper of all the injuries she allegedly suffered at the hands of Doughty, some were too graphic to report in the article.
This victim is one of the lucky ones — she got away from her abuser and is alive to tell her story. However, she will forever have the memories and the scars that will permanently be with her for the remainder of her life.
“I live in fear everyday,” she said. “He’s not the person I thought I knew. I’ve never seen this side of him. The things he did and said to me — I will never forget. I will forever have these scars to remind me of this time in my life. It was a very horrific ordeal that I’ll never forget.”
When asked what advice she has for other domestic violence victims, she had this to say, “Watch for red flags very, very early in the beginning. I wish I had listened to people; I wish I had paid attention. They control your every thought — he took everything away from me except for my life.
“If they are verbally abusive to you, they push you, shove you, pull your hair, please get out. Every time you forgive them, that’s just more control they have over you. They look for naïve, gullible people and use everything, including your past, against you. It won’t stop until someone is dead or one goes to jail.”
As a reminder, Doughty has not been convicted of these charges; he was indicted by the Perry County Grand Jury of the charges and remains innocent until proven guilty in court.
Doughty has a pre-trial scheduled for July 30 at 2:15 p.m. in Perry County Common Pleas Court; conference, plea hearing, September 3 at 1 p.m.; and a jury trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. for Oct. 17.