Spouse abuse, dating abuse, relationship abuse, it can be physical or mental or both, it happens in teens dating; married couples, and yes same sex couples. No one in a relationship should allow themselves to be abused nor should anyone abuse another person. Sadly the reality is, abuse happens in America every nine seconds. In the time it took me to write that first sentence, two people suffered abuse.
October is the month set aside to acknowledge and better understand domestic abuse. According to the website Domestic Violence Statistics, these are the cold hard facts.
- 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.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
- Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
- The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
- Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
Facts give us information, information should give us power. So what can we do to end domestic violence? Talk to your friends, relatives and children. If you suspect a person is being abused either verbally or physically offer assistance, a safe haven for that person. Most important, teach others that abuse is not to be tolerated. Some women stay in abusive marriages due to church or so called Biblical teachings, or out of fear of displeasing God. This is a strong mental hold a group has on the abused and it not what God wants. Others fear leaving because nobody knows, and the perfect marriage seen by the outside world keeps them from admitting to themselves or to close friends that the abuse they suffer is wrong.
Teens are especially vulnerable, they are just starting to date, become a part of the world away from home and often fear admitting they have made a mistake. Others fully believe the abuser that they are worthless and nobody would want them anyway. Abusers play on self doubt. Yes, even men are abused by women, and this has a special cloak of shame. A man will stay in an abusive relationship rather than admit he is being abused by a woman. Rates of abuse in same sex relationships are on par with heterosexual relationships, showing that abuse is all about mind and body control and often is a learned behavior passed generationally.
Today if you suspect a loved one is being abused, reach out. If you have been abused even once by the person you are in a relationship with, know it can and will happen again. Drugs, alcohol, poverty, and learned behaviors all connect back to abuse. Knowing the background of the person you are involved with may help you know of the possibility of abuse within the relationship. Seek help for yourself if you are in a bad relationship. The fear of gossip, reputation is a lot less damaging than living with abuse.
It’s easy to look the other way or sweep domestic abuse under the rug. The life you save might be someone you love or even your own.