According to court records, the mother of the gunman who fatally shot five people last week said her late husband threatened to kill her on at least two occasions during their marriage.
In 1998, Randa Abdou, the shooter's mother, requested a restraining order, stating in her declaration that her husband told her, "If he had a gun he would be over." The shooter's father also threatened to take the children to Canada after the couple separated.
As a domestic violence clinician, I hear stories from clients like this all of the time, and that the children were present in the home while the violence occurs. I want to state that his behavior should not be excused, he killed 5 people , but I want people to understand that it is very scary for children to hear and witness domestic violence in the home, where they are supposed to feel safe the most- it is particularly traumatic for the child to hear one parent threaten the other's life! My work with children has validated the idea that domestic violence issues in the home often affect them more than we think and more than they will tell us.
I have heard from my client's child, "It is most scary when my parents are in the other room and I can't see what's going on." Or, "I get the "shivers" when dad or mom comes home, I never know what mood he/she will be in."
The bigger question is can we stop the cycle of violence? My answer is yes. I believe that therapeutic intervention early on is the best way to achieve this. More mental health resources are needed for children and adolescents. These days we are lacking in affordable counseling services for children, which often include domestic violence awareness and intervention for the family as well.
If someone you know or your own child has been victim of a traumatic event or you would like additional information please contact the National Child Traumatic Stress Network..www.NCTSN.org