85% of those abused are women. Statistics show that one out of every four women is a victim of domestic abuse. It is the greatest cause of injury to women in the United States. 30-60% of perpetrators also abuse children in the household.
Domestic violence knows no discrimination. It can affect anyone; any age or gender. It affects those of all ethnic backgrounds and economic levels, and as quiet as it's kept, men too are also victims of domestic violence. Abusive behavior can be psychological or physical. Either form is destructive to both the abused and the abuser. The pattern of abuse being passed down over generations makes it all the more critical to develop effective means to create awareness, educate and eradicate it. Domestic violence, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when a person in an intimate relationship or marriage dominates and controls the other person. Abusers use fear, guilt, shame and intimidation for the purpose of maintaining control. Abusers may also threaten the abused and those around them with bodily harm. Domestic violence often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. Physical injury is the most obvious form, but emotional and psychological consequences of domestic violence are just as severe. It destroys self worth, leads to anxiety/depression, and makes one feel helpless and alone. Recognizing the reality of an abusive situation is the first step.
Physical violence/ abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers the person. Those who are physically abused are at higher risk of being seriously injured or killed
Emotional/Physiological abuse is subjecting or exposing someone to behavior that may result to psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression or post traumatic stress disorder.
Sexual abuse is any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity
All are a crime in which the police have the power and authority to protect you.
Signs and Symptoms/Those who are abused:
-Fear their partners watching what they say and do to avoid a blow up
-Are belittled by their partner
-Have frequent injuries with excuse of accidents,
-Frequently miss work, school or social occasions without explanation,
-Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (long sleeves in the summer/sunglasses
indoors) isolation/restriction from seeing family and friends.
-Have low self esteem
-Rarely go out in public without their partner
-Have limited access to money or credit cards
-Are depressed, anxious and maybe even suicidal
Maybe you have lived with domestic violence, maybe you thought it would only happen just once. Maybe someone you know; a family member, a friend, a co-worker or neighbor is being abused. If you suspect someone is being abused speak up! The expression of your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life! Don't judge, blame, pressure, give advise, or place conditions on your support. Do Express concern, listen and validate, and offer help. Remember, abusers are very good at what they do; controlling and manipulating their victims. Someone being abused needs help to get out. They have been emotionally abused, battered, depressed, scared, ashamed and confused. By offering support you can help them begin their healing and possibly save their life.
Domestic violence and other forms of abuse should never happen to anyone. it should never be tolerated or accepted no matter where it comes from. If you or someone you know need help please contact one of the agencies below to get help safely:
National Domestic Violence Hot Line 800-799-(SAFE) 7233
Common Ground Sanctuary 800-231-1127