Unfortunately, domestic violence is an issue that many people face. While sadly many people falsely report violence, in most situations, domestic violence is very real. But why? Why does domestic violence happen? For the same reasons other types of violence happen:
- Some people grow up in abusive environments and without getting the help they need to overcome their past, they continue to live life knowing nothing but abuse.
- For others, they may suffer from mental illness
- Some may be dealing with a situation that is emotionally devastating to them and not know what to do next,
- Some may act violently in the heat of the moment.
There are so many different reasons people find themselves in these unwanted or unintended situations not realizing how it might end.
So what is the best solution for those who find themselves in a situation where they or someone they are/were close to are losing control?
Previously I wrote about how a restraining order may save a life. But is a restraining order enough? In many situations, No. After all, if one is threatening violence or serious harm to another, they more than likely need help for their own personal issues in addition to punishment for their actions. While restraining orders alone serve the purpose of ordering a person to stay away from and not have contact with the victim, unless other orders are made, the main issue often remains unresolved.
Specifically, if one obtains a restraining order because of violence or serious threats of violence, it only makes sense that the perpetrator should either remain incarcerated and/or successfully complete appropriate treatment such as counseling, anger management courses, etc. in order to resolve the underlying issues that exist. Otherwise, a restraining order alone may not deter them from taking dangerous action.
This is exactly what happened in the case of Kim Phantahovngsa. Although Phantahovngsa reportedly secured a restraining order against Merrick McCoy, the father of her 19-month-old daughter, Mia in September of this year due to threats made by him to “kill her,” this did not stop McCoy from violating the order and entering into her apartment last week. Phantahovngsa woke up to McCoy in her home, above her bed, brandishing a gun. After fighting/arguing with him, Phantahovngsa ran out of the home seeking help from neighbors. As she was on the phone with 911, she reportedly heard the gun shots that were soon discovered to have ended the life of her daughter.
Reportedly, minutes before shooting Mia and himself, in an attempted murder-suicide, McCoy posted his intent and motive to his Facebook page, noting “I told u I can’t live without u lol u thought I was joking now me n Mia out this b$#@”(expletive). He also posted “Don’t judge me had no choice.” It was reported that McCoy was angry that Phantahovngsa ended their relationship and made efforts to move on. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in divided families.
While the facts aren’t clear as to whether McCoy was ordered to attend anger management or other rehabilitative programs when the restraining order was issued against him in September, it was reported that at that time, McCoy was arrested in connection with the domestic violence incident that occurred with Phantahovngsa and was criminally charged, but was released from jail after posting $20,000 bond.
This is clearly a case where requiring continued incarceration and/or completion of appropriate treatment would have been justified, and possibly could have saved a life.
If you find yourself in a domestic violence situation that you believe will get out of control, don’t take it lightly and rely simply on a restraining order; make sure you stress your concerns and request appropriate rehabilitation of the perpetrator in order to fully protect yourself.