Domestic Violence

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Recently, someone I know was the victim of domestic violence. I decided to do an article on it and in doing my research I have found quite a bit of disturbing information on domestic violence and abuse. The statistics are staggering.

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence is more prevalent than most people realize. According to what I have read, it is estimated over one million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year this includes hitting, choking, pushing, burning, stabbing, shooting and other forms of assaults. More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the U.S. experience domestic violence some time in their lifetime.  Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew with 85% of domestic violence victims being women. Females who are 18-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence which includes rape. Also, over 30 percent of all women who are murdered in the United States are killed by a current or former male partner according to The Center for American Progress.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.  There are many reasons for this, some of which are related to the embarrassment victims feel like fear of retribution, fear of additional abuser violence resulting from disclosure, lack of resources and the feeling they deserved it. Those who have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner or stranger report being concerned about their own and their family’s safety if the incident is disclosed. A restraining order does not always work with person having to violate it before anything can be done.

Victims often need health care and often miss at least one day of work or school. Nearly half of all women in U.S.  have experienced at least one form of psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime including some form of expressive aggression like their partner acting angry in a way that seemed dangerous and telling them they are a loser or a failure or insulting or humiliating them. The majority of women who have experienced intimate partner violence said it was by one partner, while over a quarter were victimized by two or more partners.

The most common age when intimate partner violence is first experienced by women is age 18-24, followed by age 11-17, then age 25-44 and age over 45 being the least victimized. For men the most common age is age 18-24, followed by age 25-34, then age 11-17, followed by age 35-44 and then over age 45. Among victims of intimate partner violence, 84% of female victims and 61% of male victims disclosed their victimization to someone, primarily a friend or family member. Only 21% of female victims and 6% of male victims disclosed their victimization to a doctor, nurse or the police at some point in their lifetime. It is estimated over one million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

As I look around I see I have three children and six grandchildren. I also have a sister and a few cousins. It worries me as to which of these could be subject to abuse or domestic violence.

Society needs to remove the stigma associated with domestic violence and abuse and the courts have to provide stiffer penalties to the abusers. Fortunately the perpetrator in the case that prompted this article was arrested and is stood trial. Hopefully the victim I cited in the beginning can recover and go on with their life without any permanent damage.

Help for victims of domestic abuse is available at the Domestic Violence Hotline at        1-800-799-7233

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