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WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ?

Domestic Violence is a repeated pattern of behavior one person uses over another to gain power and control. Types of abuse can include verbal, emotional, financial, physical, intimidation, sexual, or spiritual.

Abuse occurs to women in all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and educational levels and in all faiths. An abused woman is just as likely to be a successful professional or the woman sitting next to you in church as a woman on welfare.


Abuse in America

• Every 9 seconds a woman in the United Stated is abused by a husband or boyfriend.
• On the average more than 3 women are murdered by their husband/boyfriend every day.
• 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period.
• 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
• 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.
• Women of all races and all faiths are equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.
• For 30% of women who experience abuse, the first incident occurs during pregnancy.
• Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and give birth to low birth weight babies.
• 74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while they were at work
• Seventy-four percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96% were females killed by their intimate partners.
• Most murder-suicides with three or more victims involved a “family annihilator” – a subcategory of intimate partner murder-suicide. Family annihilators are murderers who kill not only their wives/girlfriends and children, but often other family members as well, before killing themselves.
• 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
• Approximately 3.3 million children witness violence toward their mothers each year.
• 63% of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser.
• Violent youth are 4 times as likely to come from homes in which their fathers beat their mothers than are non-violent youth.

Stats from FBI Crime Report, U.S. Department of Justice and The National Domestic Violence Hotline website


Statistics on the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

• For 30% of women who experience abuse, the first incident occurs during pregnancy.

• Approximately 3.3 million children witness violence toward their mothers each year.

• Violent youth are 4 times as likely to come from homes in which their fathers beat their mothers than are non-violent youth.

• 63% of young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser.

Stats from FBI Crime Report, U.S. Department of Justice and The National Domestic Violence Hotline website


How You Can Help a Friend or Relative in an Abusive Relationship

1. Believe her. Take seriously what she tells you. Listen carefully to her story, do not judge, and respond to her feelings.

2. Be concerned about her injuries – does she need or has she received medical attention?

3. Be concerned about her safety or need for a safe place. Be sure that a safe place is available to her, whether in a home or at a domestic violence shelter; let her know how to contact such a place in your community.

4. Support the legitimacy of her getting away from the situation where she is in danger, but do not push her to leave or criticize her for not having left sooner. The danger level intensifies when she leaves the relationship.

5. Recognize that she may feel she has failed as a wife, but she does not cause the abuse. Nobody deserves to be hit. Just because the couple has conflict (normal), that does not mean there is justification for the verbal or physical abuse (not normal).

6. Realize that if she stays in the relationship and her husband does not get help, the abuse will happen again and will get worse. Explain the cycle of violence. Domestic violence increases in frequency and severity over time.

7. Recognize that she may be very ambivalent. She probably loves her husband and it is quite possible that when he is not abusive he can be very loving toward her.

8. Be aware that an abusive husband may have greatly damaged her self esteem and confidence in her ability to take care of herself and her children. Don’t reinforce her low self esteem by taking over and making decisions for her. Choices about her life are hers, not yours. Let her make her own decisions. Help her to see she has choices.

9. Suggest that her husband needs treatment. He needs to take responsibility for, and change his behavior. Has she thought about pressing charges? Battery is a crime, and a record may be helpful in the long-run to hold him accountable for his behavior.

10. Encourage her to utilize any local resources available to victims so that she can get as much information as possible about her options. You can give her the phone numbers to call in her area to get help.

11. Above all, let her know that you are there to help and listen and that you will support her in her decisions.

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