October is Domestic Violence Month
Domestic violence is abuse directed toward a spouse or domestic partner; usually violence by men against women. Physical and sexual assault may be one aspect of the abuse; however, many other tactics and actions are used by batterers to take control of their spouse’s/partner’s life. The batterer may use only occasional physical assaults to instill threat of future attacks.
Demographics and Statistics of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence occurs in countless homes regardless of education, income, race or creed. Unfortunately, victims of abuse rarely report the acts of their abusers. The result is that victims suffer in silence, which often leads to increased violence. Statistics as to domestic violence are varied, however, a few facts are clear. First, Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in theUnited States. Additionally, abusers are more likely than not a member of the victim’s own family. Also, sexual assault occurs in close to half of all battering relationships.
Children and Domestic Violence
Children are also victimized by domestic violence. Approximately 40% to 50% of those who batter their significant other will also batter their children. Witnessing violence at home is the strongest risk factor in transmitting violent tendency to children. In fact, boys that witness domestic violence in their home are twice as likely to abuse their partner in adult relationships.
Characteristics of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is more than physical assault. A batterer uses many tactics to control every aspect of their spouse’s/partner’s life. For example, a few tactics are coercion, threats, intimidation, economic control, emotional abuse, isolation, minimization, blame or denial.
If you can answer “yes” to any of the following, you may be a victim of domestic violence:
- Have you or your child(ren) been physically hurt?
- Has your life or your child(ren)’s life been threatened? Has your spouse/partner threatened to take their life?
- Are you denied access to bank accounts? Are you denied the ability to work?
- Have you or your child(ren) been threatened with a weapon?
- Have you been forced to stop seeing friends or family?
- Does your spouse/partner threaten to take your child(ren)?
- Is the abuser obsessed with you? Does the batterer stalk you?
- Do your attempts to discuss your fear result in denial or being blamed?
Your next step
If you are the victim of domestic violence, it will probably not get better. You need help – emotional, financial, and legal. Many programs and services are available.