'Story headline was inappropriate'

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In the Tuesday, May 1 Regional Roundup column, the paper reported "Man arrested following argument with woman."

The title of the news brief was markedly inappropriate. The term "argument" is usually used to describe occasionally intense but not life-threatening concerns - for example, a disagreement over whose turn it is to tend to household chores. The news brief "explained" that this particular argument was somehow related to "possible charges of strangulation-domestic abuse, battery-domestic abuse, disorderly conduct-domestic violence.."

Please note if the man was charged with strangulation and battery with domestic violence, then the man was arrested because of his apparent violent behavior and threats against the woman - not because of having an argument. The key difference between domestic violence and an argument is that in an abusive relationship, the perpetrator uses tactics such as creating fear or isolating to establish control over the victim in comparison with an argument where the partners of equal power are having a disagreement. Unless self-defense is an issue, what occurred previously is irrelevant.

Research has substantiated that those partners who choose to choke or strangle their partners are over-represented among the cohort of partners who subsequently kill their partners. Given the irrelevance of what transpired before the violence and the magnitude of the alleged behaviors, may we suggest a different heading: Man arrested for using potentially lethal violence against partner?

Kelsey M. Hood-Christenson

Program Director

Domestic Violence Survivor Center


John Pfleiderer

Executive Director

Family Services

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