Trigger Warning: This post and the book referenced in it can be triggering for anyone with experience of domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse. Please use care.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted in the United States! This is truly heartbreaking. Most domestic violence happens behind closed doors, but even if family and/or friends know about the violence, they stay silent. Silence happens because we think it’s a personal matter. That it’s none of our business.
For too long this terrorism has gone on. Most victims are women, but anyone can find themselves in an abusive relationship. Children caught in this ugliness grow up with many challenges, assuming they don’t become victims of the violence themselves. Many abusers will use children, and even pets to control and intimidate their partners.
Unfortunately, I understand what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship. We think of home as our safe place, but for too many of us it’s not safe. I’ve been out of that relationship for 13 years. I’m still trying to heal from it. The impact on my children has been heart-breaking.
We tend to think that domestic violence only affects the partner/children being abused. In reality, violence at home impacts our whole society in ever widening circles. According to a 2017 report by Everytown for Gun Safety, 54% of the mass shootings in the US started as family violence.
Domestic Violence Facts
Next, Rachel Louise Snyder in her book No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us explores in detail the following facts.
- On average 137 women are killed every day by an intimate partner across the globe! This doesn’t include children or men.
- Men are less likely to be killed by their female partners… “in states in the United States where ‘we have good domestic violence laws and resources.’ When women feel they have a way out of an abusive relationship they are less likely to resort to violence themselves.
- The single biggest risk of domestic murder is prior domestic violence.
- Women are at greatest risk of being killed when they try to leave an abuser.
- If a man is willing to strangle you, he will kill you one day.
- Only 15% of women who are strangled have visible evidence of the event, so it is often downplayed by police and medical providers.
- Love-at-first-sight relationships are a “hallmark of private violence.”
- Our cultural expectations for how women, and men are supposed to act has a direct influence on domestic violence.
- Abuse doesn’t happen all at once, it “leaks out slowly over time like radon.”
- “Fifty thousand women around the world were killed by partners or family members in 2017 alone.”
- The presence of a gun in a home increases the chance of it being used against a partner.
- Guns are used by abusers to intimidate, control, and sometimes kill.
Domestic Violence & Disabilities
“Research suggests that women with disabilities are more likely to experience domestic violence, emotional abuse, and sexual assault than women without disabilities.”1 This is from the following article:
Domestic violence towards a woman with disabilities can take the same forms as for non-disabled women, as well as in ways that take advantage of the person’s disability. For example, withholding pain medication, food, finances, or help with personal care tasks.
The following two articles cover this topic in more detail:
Here is a another very helpful article: Navigating Financial Help When Leaving An Abusive Relationship
Finally, I know that this is a distressing subject to think about, but if we don’t talk about it nothing will change. Violence or abuse is NEVER okay in our families.
If you know someone in a violent domestic relationship, please don’t mind your own business. My abuser did things that I didn’t know about with our children. My parents knew about his carelessness, and said nothing to me. I didn’t find out about it for 21 years. After I left my abuser.
Domestic violence grows in silence and isolation. Solve the problem. Don’t contribute to violence and abuse. If you need help with leaving an abusive partner, click here.
If you’d like to read the stories of two other domestic abuse survivors, click here:
Till next time, Kathy