sponsored by VCU Health
By J. Chevonte’ Alexander
“Don’t let someone who doesn’t know your value tell you how much you’re worth.”
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. One in three women and one in four men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. The Domestic Violence Awareness color is purple and National Domestic Violence Month is recognized in October.
Did you know? There have been 437 domestic violence gun related fatalities since January 1, 2016. Domestic violence thrives when we are silent; but if we take a stand and work together, we can end domestic violence. Throughout the month of October, help raise awareness about domestic violence and join in the efforts to end violence.
- One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.
- Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
- In America, one woman is fatally shot by a spouse, ex-spouse or dating partner every 14 hours.
Signs of Domestic Violence
Does your partner:
- Embarrass you with put-downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Take your money or paycheck, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
- Make all of the decisions?
- Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Prevent you from working or going to school?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal or is your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
- Threaten to kill you?
If any of these things or other types of abuse are happening, you need to seek help. It’s important to know that you are not alone. The way your partner acts is not your fault. Help is available.
Is Someone You Know Being Abused?
There is no way to tell for sure if someone is experiencing domestic violence. Those who are battered, and those who abuse, come in all shapes, sizes, colors, economic classes and personality types. Victims are not always passive with low self-esteem, and batterers are not always violent or hateful to their partner in front of others. Most people experiencing relationship violence do not tell others what goes on at home. So how do you tell? Look for the signs:
- Injuries and excuses
- Absences from work or school
- Low self-esteem
- Personality changes
- Fear of conflict
- Passive-aggressive behavior
- Isolation and control
- Stress-related problems
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love.
“Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. Since the 1994 passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, our Nation has strengthened its response to this crime and increased services for victims. Still, far too many women and families in this country and around the world are affected by domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to ending violence within our homes, our communities, and our country. And across America, we encourage victims and their families to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.” – Barack Obama, President of the United States