With 1-in-4 women experiencing domestic violence in her lifetime, chances are good that you may know someone (or perhaps yourself) who is a victim. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, read on to learn more about the signs of domestic violence and how you can help stop the cycle of abuse.
Did you know?
- About 1.3 million women in the United States become victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
- Most cases of violence against women are caused by someone they know.
- Young women (20 to 24 years of age) are the most likely victims of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
- Male children who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to grow up and abuse their own partners and children.
- One-in-six women and 1-in-33 men have experienced rape or attempted rape.
- Domestic violence contributes to $4.1 billion in direct medical and mental health services costs.
- Many cases of assault, rape or stalking of women by intimate partners go unreported.
For more information on these and other facts, click here.
Signs of domestic violence
Every couple fights from time to time, and most of us can admit to saying something out of anger to our partner we wish we could take back. Domestic violence, however, goes beyond that and is a pattern of abuse that is both controlling and dangerous.
If your partner does any of the following, you could be a victim of domestic violence and should seek help:
- Physically assault you in any way.
- Tell you whom you can see, where you can go or whom you can talk to.
- Threaten to take away or hurt your children.
- Blame you for the abuse or deny doing it.
- Threaten to kill you.
Click here for more information on these and other signs of domestic violence.
If you think you are the victim of domestic violence, get help immediately. A good place to start is with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233
Could someone you know be a victim?
Sadly it’s all too common for victims of abuse to deny it or even defend their abuser, which is why it often takes the help of friends and family to get them the support and treatment they need.
The following could signal abuse:
- Person has suspicious bruises or injuries, especially those that point to choking, punching or being thrown down.
- Person blames injuries on such things as being accident-prone or clumsy.
- Person has few close friends and/or is kept isolated from others.
- Person has low self-esteem.
- Person shows symptoms of depression and/or has talked about or attempted suicide.
How you can help
Victims of domestic violence are already suffering enough, so it is important to be sensitive about how you approach them. If you think someone you know is a victim, the following guidelines can help you help him or her get the right support.
- Assure the victim that you are available whenever he or she needs to talk without being too pushy.
- Remind him or her that the abuse is not his or her fault and that no one deserves to be abused.
- Offer victim assistance on taking legal action and offer to provide transportation, money or child care if you are able.
- Encourage him or her to speak with a counselor or other health professional.
- Help the victim leave a violent relationship by encouraging him or her to seek shelter and legal support. Click here to find a program near you.
Learn more about how you can help here.