Some things we think always happen in other people’s lives and never in our own. However, certain unseen problems lurk below the surface of almost every community – no matter where it is. Domestic violence is one of these problematic issues. Understanding domestic violence can help you recognize it and know how to put a stop to it.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
According to the NCADV, physical violence from a partner is experienced by 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States. Such a high number means that chances are likely someone you know has been the victim of a physical attack by a partner. Since such attacks don’t always leave physical marks – or the marks are hidden – it can be easy to not know it’s happening even when the incident is taking place with someone you know well.
40 percent of female murder victims are killed by their partners. Of those, 76 percent are stalked in some way prior to the murder. Often times, domestic violence starts small or starts in ways that aren’t directly, massively violent. By the time action is taken, it’s possible that it is too late to help someone. That’s one reason why it’s so important to address violent behaviors early when they’re first noticed.
On the bright side, though, physical abuse by partners has actually declined by 67 percent since 1994. This is because the Violence Against Women Act, which expanded protections for battered women, as well as funding to help curb physical violence, was passed. The act was expanded and strengthened six years later as well.
Most physical abuse isn’t actually being done by spouses – it’s done by people who are dating each other. Domestic abuse isn’t only something that happens once a wedding ceremony has been performed. If you think you notice the signs of domestic abuse between people who have been dating three weeks or 30 years, you might be right. Don’t think relationship length is the only thing that determines what’s happening between two people.
DoSomething.org says that domestic violence is most common from 6pm to 6am. It’s possible that the reason for that is people are more likely to be home during that time. Since domestic violence is rarely a public event, it makes sense that people would confine it to private times with their partners more often than not.
Tragically, half of all homeless women and children are actually trying to escape a domestic violence situation. Escape may be difficult when a victim has no formal job training, personal paperwork, or funds, for example. There are shelters and organizations available to help in most areas, though. If you know someone being abused, pointing out these resources may help them separate themselves from the situation.
The cost of domestic violence is more than 37 billion each year ranging in everything from law enforcement to medical care.
Not all domestic violence is physical. Emotional and mental abuse may also be considered domestic violence in certain jurisdictions. According to Gus Kostopoulos, who practices as a domestic violence attorney in Illinois, that state defines domestic violence in many ways, including physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, and interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.
If a boy grows up in a home with domestic violence, he’s at least two times more likely to be an abuser himself than if he hadn’t been exposed to that. That’s one reason why it’s so important to model healthy relationships for children – so they can experience them later. People with children who are experiencing domestic violence may think it isn’t impacting the kids if it isn’t directed at them – but that’s not the case.
With more than 32,000 jobs per year lost due to domestic violence, it’s important to recognize that the impact goes beyond physical damage. Losing a job has an economic impact on a person that can limit their ability to move away from the violent relationship. Domestic violence can happen at the workplace or the effects of it can cause problems in performance.
Even young people who date aren’t safe. 1 in 3 high school girls will experience violence while dating. That’s one reason why it’s so important to talk to your children about domestic violence and being a good partner before they start dating. Addressing the problem is the first step to helping them avoid negative interactions.
On average, the abusive partner hits their victim 35 times before a police report is made. The first incident isn’t usually the one that creates a change in the relationship for a variety of reasons. It’s important to remember that you can’t force someone to leave a partner or make a police report. You can only support them as someone you care for while they process and make decisions.
Three or more women are killed by a spouse every day. Domestic violence can start small and become more intense and damaging over time. Sometimes separating a person from their abuser can literally save their life.
These facts and others like them paint a harrowing picture of serious abuse that goes on behind closed doors. But with education and legal protections for victims, it’s been shown that domestic violence can – and did – go down in the United States. If you see someone with multiple unexplained injuries, a history of unexplained absences from obligations, personality changes, or increasing isolation from friends or loved ones, they may be experiencing domestic abuse. Simply lending an ear or pointing them toward the right resources might help them move away from that part of their life and toward a healthier one.