“Grave Yard Love” — Staying in a Violent Relationship Can Be Deadly

Orleans Parish Coroner, Dr. Dwight McKenna, wants you to know the potential dangers of
intimate partner violence, also known as, “grave yard love.” An intimate partner is someone who
you share a close, emotional, physical, and personal relationship with. If the relationship turns
violent be warned, it could lead to death.

Experts say many people endure a menacing or violent romantic partner. It’s defined as having
an intimate partner which includes physical and sexual violence and non physical forms of
abuse, such as psychological aggression and emotional abuse, enhanced by a current or former

There can be situations where both partners are violent. Women, however, are more susceptible to harmful outcomes as a result of severe violence including physical injury and psycho-logistical distress. This could show itself as depression and anxiety and/or substance abuse.

How do you assess a violent situation? Here are some warning signs:

• The frequency or severity of violence has increased in the past year
• The partner has ever used, or threatened to use a weapon
• The partner believes the partner is capable of killing her (him)
• The partner has ever tried to choke or strangle her (him)
• The partner is violently and constantly jealous

Dr. McKenna says, if you have a safety plan, you could change the outcome. You should
consider safety planning when:

• Living with an abusive partner
• Children are in the home
• The patient is pregnant
• Pets are involved

Dr. McKenna says you can stay safe over time by identifying safe areas in the home where there are
no weapons and multiple ways to escape, always have a phone handy to call for help, develop a
plan with trusted friends or neighbors when you need help, and practice how to get to safety.

Experts also say it’s a good idea to teach children how to get help and instruct them to NOT get involved, and remember, you can always call 911.

If you or someone you love needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Research provided by the journal of family practice