Domestic Violence...What is It?
As domestic violence awareness has increased, it has become evident that abuse can occur within a number of relationships. The laws in many states cover incidents of violence occurring between married couples, as well as abuse of elders by family members, abuse between roommates, dating couples and those in lesbian and gay relationships. In an abusive relationship, the abuser may use a number of tactics other than physical violence in order to maintain power and control over his or her partner:
Emotional and verbal abuse:
Survivors of domestic violence recount stories of put-downs, public humiliation, name-calling, mind games and manipulation by their partners. Many say that the emotional abuse they have suffered has left the deepest scars.
It is common for an abuser to be extremely jealous, and insist that the victim not see her friends or family members. The resulting feeling of isolation may then be increased for the victim if she loses her job as a result of absenteeism or decreased productivity (which are often associated with people who are experiencing domestic violence).
Threats and Intimidation:
Threats -- including threats of violence, suicide, or of taking away the children -- are a very common tactic employed by the batterer.
The existence of emotional and verbal abuse, attempts to isolate, and threats and intimidation within a relationship may be an indication that physical abuse is to follow. Even if they are not accompanied by physical abuse, the effect of these incidents must not be minimized. Many of the resources listed in this book have information available for people who are involved with an emotionally abusive intimate partner.
Domestic violence is a Learned Behavior
Most batterers learn violent behavior growing up in an abusive family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women age 15 to 44.
More women are injured from domestic violence than rapes, muggings, and auto crashes combined. (Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, 1991)
Michigan State Police statistics show that a Michigan woman is killed by a partner or former partner every 5 days.
25-45% of all women who are battered are battered during pregnancy.
....leaving an abusive relationship is not easy.
A study by the United States Department of Justice states that the most dangerous time for a woman who is being battered is when she leaves the abuser.
In the United States, 75% of the women who are killed by their partners are murdered after the relationship is over or as it ends.
Sexual assault…it’s not about lust and desire, it’s a violent crime of Power, Control and Dominance
- Every 45 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assaulted (1).
- 1 out of every 7 women currently in college has been raped (2), however, 9 out of 10 women raped on campus never tell anyone about the rape (3).
- 1 in 10 men is raped in his lifetime (4), 1 in 7 of those victims will have been assaulted before the age of 18.
- More than 61.5% of rapes are never reported to law enforcement (5).
- Approximately 28% of rape victims are raped by their husbands, 35% by an acquaintance, and 17% by a relative other than spouse (6).
- 74% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by assailants well known to the victim (7).
- A female child victim is 7 times more likely to be re-victimized as an adult (8).
- Nearly 6 out of 10 sexual assaults occur at the victim’s home or the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor (9).
- 1 in 15 rape victims contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) as a result of being raped (10).
- 1 in 15 rape victims become pregnant as a result of being raped (11).
- The United States has the world’s highest rape rate of all countries that publish such data- 13 times higher than England and more than 20 times higher than Japan (12).
- An American woman is 10 times more likely to be raped than to die in a car crash (13).
- 61% of rape victims are females under the age of 18 (14).
1 out of every 4 women is a victim of domestic violence at least once in her lifetime. In 50% of the cases where men are assaulting their partners, they are also assaulting their children. The battered mother may be suffering from physical and psychological injuries to the point that she cannot meet the needs of her children appropriately. According to the FBI, one woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. The American Medical Association defines domestic violence as an ongoing, debilitating experience of physical, psychological, and/or sexual abuse.