October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
I just finished reading a fiction book about domestic violence and it’s been weighing heavy on my heart since. In fact, it was so heavy on my heart, that I dreamed about it last night. To say that my dream was disturbing would be an understatement. When I woke up, I knew I had to write about this subject that is still very “hush-hush” to this day, even though it is definitely more out in the open than it used to be. But to really dig deep here, we have to better understand what domestic violence is and what the statics are and then we can learn how we can help.
Why It Matters
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime. (NCADV)
National Statistics (NCADV)
- 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women
- Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew
- Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police
- Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.
- Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
- 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.
- Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner
- Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of battering relationships.
- 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner; 31% are also sexually assaulted by that partner.
- Domestic violence is one of the most chronically under-reported crimes
- Approximately 20% of the 1.5 million people who experience intimate partner violence annually obtain civil protection orders
- Approximately one-half of the orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated.1 More than two-thirds of the restraining orders against intimate partners who raped or stalked the victim were violated
The Texas Council on Family Violence‘s latest Honoring Texas Victims report not only shows Texas statistics but also shows actual cases in each county where victims have died due to domestic violence in 2010…there are 142 names listed…and that was just in 2010. These are just cases where the victims have died. The latest domestic violence statistics for Texas (2009) are as follows:
- 196,713 Family Violence Incidents
- 111 women killed by their intimate partner [as you can see that number rose in 2010]
- 12,213 Adults received shelter from their abusive relationships
- 15,905 children received shelter
Teen Dating Violence
One aspect of violence that we have been hearing more and more about in movies and televisions shows (in an effort to draw awareness) is Teen Dating Violence. According to the CDC, “among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, 22.4% of women and 15.0% of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age” and “approximately 9% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before surveyed”.
So What Now?
These statistics are alarming to say the least. I am blown away at the numbers. You may be just as alarmed, but wondering what you can do to help. The Domestic Violence Hotline website is promoting 20 Challenges for Change this month. Right now, there are 7 challenges posted on their site (“Please Note: If you are in an abusive relationship, please do not post anything publicly that might jeopardize your safety.”):
- Share a link to this blog post to someone via email or social media, Share our challenge image (download here) and encourage your friends to join, Declare boldly, “I am taking The Hotline DVAM Challenge!” on Facebook or Twitter
- Post one of these messages below as your Facebook status or Tweet it out to your followers. Don’t want to use social media? Then simply tell someone you love one of these facts. ~More than 1 in 3 women & 1 in 4 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner (CDC, 2010), ~Intimate Partner Violence can affect health in many ways. The longer the violence goes on, the more serious the effects. (CDC, 2012), ~You have the right to a healthy relationship with a partner who treats you with respect.
- Answer true or false to the statements below and then continue reading on to see how you did. (CLICK HERE for the true or false section)
- Please share this image —>
- Know the signs of abuse (CLICK HERE)
- Be supportive - Please share our number with your network of friends and family. You could post the message below on Facebook, Twitter or email, or simply reach out to someone you know who may need to talk. If reaching out to a friend/family member, keep their safety in mind and don’t post the message in a place where their partner can see.
- Practice active listening. You can do this for any of your friends or family, no matter what their relationship status is. Truly listen to a friend or family member and concentrate on what it is that they’re saying. Rephrase what you hear them say so that you are deeply engaged in what they are sharing with you. For example, you could say, “I’m hearing you say _____, is that right?” By practicing active listening, we can give better support to those we love.
For the rest of the October challenges, keep up with the hotline’s website (http://www.thehotline.org/category/share-your-voice/).
If You or Someone You Know is a Victim of Domestic Violence
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic or teen dating violence, please contact the following websites or services to help get yourself or your loved one out of that relationship and into a healthy, stable environment.
- Texas Council on Family Violence http://www.tcfv.org/
- CDC’s Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/datingmatters
- National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or text 77054
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-HOPE (4673)
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center www.nsvrc.org
- Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention www.vetoviolence.org/datingmatters
- The Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) http://www.thehotline.org/