Domestic Violence Awareness Month

domestic violence

It is 2017, and we as a nation still have a silent epidemic that we don’t want to talk about. Domestic Violence. I can’t tell you how sad it makes me to have to post this page. You would think with all our advancements, and all our knowledge, we would have moved past this horrendous crime against humanity.

However, since we have not matured enough as a people to conquer our most base criminal actions, I find it necessary to write this post and to pass along the information I found online.

In honor of October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wish to offer the following important information.

What is Domestic Violence?

According to the United States Department of Justices, Office on Violence Against Women, the definition of domestic violence as follows: ”

a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.”

Many forms of abuse are included in the definition of domestic violence:

Physical abuse: This can include hitting, biting, slapping, battering, shoving, punching, pulling hair, burning, cutting, pinching, etc. (any type of violent behavior inflicted on the victim). Physical abuse also includes denying someone medical treatment and forcing drug/alcohol use on someone.

Sexual abuse: This occurs when the abuser coerces or attempts to coerce the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without the victim’s consent. This often takes the form of marital rape, attacking sexual body parts, physical violence that is followed by forcing sex, sexually demeaning the victim, or even telling sexual jokes at the victim’s expense.

Emotional abuse: This involves invalidating or deflating the victim’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. Emotional abuse often takes the form of constant criticism, name-calling, injuring the victim’s relationship with his/her children, or interfering with the victims abilities.

Economic abuse: This form takes place when the abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant. Economic abusers often seek to maintain total control over financial resources, withhold the victims access to funds, or prohibit the victim from going to school or work.

Psychological abuse: This involves the abuser invoking fear through intimidation; threatening to physically hurt himself/herself, the victim, children, the victim’s family or friends, or the pets; destruction of property; injuring the pets; isolating the victim from loved ones; and prohibiting the victim from going to school or work.

Threats: This form involves threats to hit, injure, or use a weapon are a form of psychological abuse.

Stalking: This form can include following the victim, spying, watching, harassing, showing up at the victim’s home or work, sending gifts, collecting information, making phone calls, leaving written messages, or appearing at a person’s home or workplace. These acts individually are typically legal, but any of these behaviors done continuously results in stalking a crime.

Cyberstalking: This refers to online action or repeated emailing that inflicts substantial emotional distress in the recipient.

The American Psychological Association recently posted a sobering paper which outlines statistics of the prevalence of domestic violence.

Did you know that:

  • More than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

 

  • 74 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were women killed by their intimate partners.

 

  • One in five female high school student’s reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

 

  • Interpersonal violence is the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy.

 

  • The percentage of women who consider their mental health to be poor is almost three times higher among women with a history of violence than among those without.

 

  • Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk of intimate partner violence, especially severe violence, than women without disabilities.

 

  • Nearly half of all women in the United States have experienced at least one form of psychological aggression by an intimate partner.

 

  • On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.

 

  • One out of three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.

 

  • Intimate Partner Violence occurs across age, ethnic, gender and economic lines, among persons with disabilities, and among both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

As that wasn’t sobering enough, statistically speaking your risks of experiencing domestic violence increase if you are:

  • Poor
  • Less educated
  • An adolescent or a young adult
  • Female
  • Living in a high-poverty neighborhood
  • Dependent on drugs or alcohol

If you have been victimized by an intimate partner, recently or in the past, you may experience one or many of the following:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to trust
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Isolation
  • Risky behaviors (unhealthy eating, sexual behaviors and dependence on substances)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Emotional detachment
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flashbacks
  • Replaying assault in mind

What Can You Do to Help Yourself?

  • If violence occurs, make yourself a small target, dive into a corner and curl up into a ball, with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.

 

  • If possible, have a phone handy at all times and know what numbers to call for help.

 

  • Don’t be afraid to call the police.

 

  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation, and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.

 

  • Pack a bag (include money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra clothes and medicines) and leave it in a safe place or with someone you trust.

 

  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.

 

  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.

 

  • Call a domestic violence hotline periodically to assess your options and get support and understanding.

A List of Places to Get Help

Here are some resources where you can get help, as listed on the APA paper:

ADWAS: Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services
Provides comprehensive services to deaf and deaf-blind victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

The APA’s Psychologist Locator
Makes it easy for you to find practicing psychologists in your local area.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Works to educate the public on how to recognize domestic violence and what to do about it; teen dating violence; the impact of family violence on children; and domestic violence against individuals with disabilities, older adults, and other marginalized populations.

VAWnet: The National Online Resrouces Center on Violence Against Women
Provides a comprehensive and easily accessible collection of full-text, searchable electronic materials and resources on domestic violence, sexual violence, and related issues.

Women of Color Network (WOCN)
Promotes and supports the leadership of women of color advocates.

Please, Don’t Accept Suffering as a Way of Life

If you are experiencing domestic violence of any kind, get help. You do not need, nor do you deserve to live in fear and in danger. Don’t fool yourself into believing it is your fault, or that you have no place to go. You are a worthwhile, beautiful and unique human being who deserves not only to be happy, but to thrive.

 

 

 

http://www.apa.org/topics/violence/partner.aspx

 

 

 

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