Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. While statistics show that women are more likely to become victims of domestic violence, it can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Every nine seconds, a woman suffers from domestic violence in the United States. One in four women will be attacked during her lifetime. Millions of children witness domestic violence in their homes each year. For years, domestic violence has been a silent issue that was rarely ever spoke about outside of the home. It happened and once the moment has passed it no long exist.
While my mother is hardcore and I can’t recall her being victimized in any way, I was effected by other incidents. I remember growing up and witnessing both my Nannie and my Bigmama being abused. I was so bothered by it because the were two of the strongest women I knew and their abusers were like my grandfathers. I have heard stories from my aunt, another strong woman about how her son’s father abused her until she had enough and decided to leave. Even as a teenager and beyond, I witnessed many of my peers being victims of violence. All of these stories made me passionate about never allowing this to be apart of my reality. As I begin to date, I was always on high alert for the instance when a fool even considered it okay to step out of line.
While domestic violence is now a popular subject due to the unfolding of the Ray Rice incident. There have been many cases among celebrities that gave this issue a face and a voice. Who can forget watching “What’s Love Got To Do With It“; a movie that told the story of Ike and Tina Turner, and the abuse she experienced from her then husband. Only few years ago, Rihanna and Chris Brown made headlines when Chris abused RiRi while headed to the Grammy’s. These are not the only accounts, I could go on and one.
The truth about domestic violence is that it is fueled by hate, ignorance and insecurity, which can only be defeated by love. You have to love and appreciate yourself enough to know that you deserve better. You have to understand that despite what your abuser may say or do, abuse is not love and love doesn’t hurt. Love is kind, it is warm, it is encouraging and most of all free; if you find yourself being held captive by at situation that is mean, painful and discouraging you are not being loved.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FACTS:
- 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
- Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
- Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
- Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
- Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
- Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
- Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
- Domestic violence is most likely to occur between 6 pm and 6 am.
- More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home.
- Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.
- Among women brought to emergency rooms due to domestic violence, most were socially isolated and had fewer social and financial resources than other women not injured because of domestic violence.
- Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.
- Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.
- Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.
- According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.