Domestic violence is a pattern of actions that heavily involve the abuse of one person in a relationship against the other. Physical abuse or aggression, threats of such physical damage, emotional abuse, stalking, intimidation, domineering actions, or even neglect can be considered forms of domestic abuse.
In some cultures, men had the right to use violence to ‘discipline’ their wives. Thankfully, in the United States and a lot of European countries this thought process was removed in the early 20th century. Although this is true, it was only in the 1990s that law enforcement against domestic violence became the norm.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (#DVAM on Twitter and Instagram). During this month we celebrate survivors who were able to walk away, mourn those who were not able to walk away in time, and connect with those who work effortlessly to end domestic violence.
Some companies, such as Purple Purse and Between Friends, bond together and take the lead against this type of abuse with rallies, discussions, and events. On social media, purple ribbons, hashtags, and signs are used to show support of victims, as well as pictures posted saying, “No more” and “Love doesn’t hurt”, survivor stories encouraging others and letting them know they are not alone, and discussions surrounding how people can help, donate, and take part in volunteer efforts.
“Violence by a person against their intimate partner is often done as a way for controlling their partner, even if this kind of violence is not the most frequent. Many types of intimate partner violence occur, including violence between gay and lesbian couples, and by women against their male partners. However, 95% of all victims of domestic violence are women.”
According to statistics, domestic violence is the leading cause of serious injury to women – even more than car accidents, breast cancer, and sexual assaults. Based on reports, between 55% and 95% of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted anyone for help…a % of those that did backed away from the case against their partner due to embarrassment or not feeling safe. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone she knows.
“While physical abuse is the type of domestic violence most people hear and know about, financial abuse (using finances as a tool of power and control) happen just as frequently. Sadly, three out of four Americans fail to connect domestic violence with financial abuse. Research shows that the number one reason victims remain in relationships with their abusers is that they lack the financial knowledge and resources they need to break free.”
Domestic violence, no matter what shape, thrives when we are silent. Speak out. Lift survivors (not the abusers who will most likely deny their wrongdoings) up. Standing together, we can end the silence that victims feel obligated to have.
If you or someone you know is being abused, please call (800) 799 – 7233 for immediate assistance. For support of victims and survivors, please visit http://www.thehotline.org/resources/victims-and-survivors/.
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