October is National Domestic Violence Month, a designated time to ponder the realities of domestic violence and act. However, every month we need to be aware of the realities of domestic violence and act.
More than 10 million women and men are physically abused by a partner each year in the United States. Children are also victims.
Reports from police records, victim services, and academic studies show domestic violence exists equally in every socioeconomic group.
One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children will witness some form of domestic violence each year.
A previous experience with domestic abuse in the home is the strongest predictor of domestic violence in adulthood. Anger is one of the leading causes of domestic violence in the United States. Stress, depression, desperation, jealousy and economic hardship may also set off bouts of abuse.
The abuser controls, isolates, and makes all the decisions, often resorting to intimidation and humiliation with put-downs. Some abusers will threaten to commit suicide, destroy property, or harm the children.
Forms of abuse:
Abuse can be physical: hitting, slapping, choking, punching, rape, murder
Emotional: intimidating, controlling behavior; name-calling
Sexual: forcing unwanted sexual acts
Opportunities for help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 800 799 SAFE
National Domestic Violence Website: www.thehotline.org
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: www.ncadv.org
Source: Domestic Violence Pocket Slider, Adapted