Experienced Nashville Defense Firm

Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury Collide

Domestic violence statistics are alarming. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 40 percent of women in Tennessee and 32.5 percent of men "experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes."

The NCADV's numbers from four years back show nearly 75,000 incidents of domestic violence crimes reported throughout the state of Tennessee, with national hotlines receiving an average of 21,000 calls per day. "Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime."

Perhaps even scarier than these startling statistics is the sometimes overlooked connection between a momentary violent episode in the home and the long-lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries. Women are especially at risk for such injuries, according to the National Women's Health Network. The delicate nature of female skulls and their supporting neck muscles make women more vulnerable to TBI when they find themselves caught up in a cycle of domestic abuse.

The NWHN suggests that "up to 6 percent of the population" may struggle from the effects of a brain injury suffered because of an assault by an intimate partner. Symptoms of women in this situation may experience include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Difficulty with basic tasks such as shopping and reading
  • Abnormalities in sleeping patterns, getting too much, too little or alternating between extremes
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to sounds and light
  • Emotional instability with drastic swings between highs and lows

Women are especially vulnerable following a TBI, the NWHN notes, because doctors, shelter workers, and others who may be in a position to help them do not always recognize the symptoms of brain injury. As a result, they sometimes view the women exhibiting TBI signs simply as non-compliant, ultimately leaving them to fend for themselves in an increasingly dangerous home situation.