Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors. Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime? Did you know that most acts of domestic violence take place between 6 pm and 6 am? Did you know that more than 60% of the incidents of domestic violence happen at home.
You may wonder why women (and men) would stay around. You may wonder how could anyone put up with the verbal or worse physical abuse from someone that says that they love them. Victims believe that they are to blame. That if the hadn’t done XYZ, then their significant other wouldn’t have had to yell or hit them. The truth is that NO victim is to blame for any occurrence of domestic abuse or violence.
Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. The stats that scare me the most are these:
- More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year.
- Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
- Children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
- Children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death.
Children are the silent victims. I was one of those children. Middle class family with two parents. By all appearances happy and successful. But alcohol addiction created a monster that lead us being one of the stats. I was the child that watched the abuse. I was one of those children who tried to intervene. The memories live on and haunt me as an adult. Forgiveness has lead to healing but the memories linger. Do I think that witnessing those acts of violence affected me – YES! I was a victim of verbal abuse for many years. I struggled with relationships. I struggled with self esteem and confidence. I struggled with addictions. Children learn by example. Remember the line “Do as I say, not as I do”. Well, chances are children who have been exposed to domestic violence will subject themselves to the same kind of treatment.
#1 FACT: Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.
Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.
Do you know someone or suspect someone has been a victim of domestic violence? Here are some resources that can help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
NJ Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233)
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!