Domestic violence, according to an FBI study, is one of the most under reported crimes in this country. Both women and men can be victims of domestic violence. Statistically women are more often the victims and men are the perpetrators.
Domestic violence is not just physical. It includes patterns of forcible control that one person exercises over another. It causes physical harm, arouses fear, makes victims do things that they do not want to do, or stops them from doing things that they want to do. It can be physical, emotional, sexual or economic abuse or isolation.
Then there are the silent witnesses, the children. Those who witness domestic violence are at a higher risk of becoming batterers or victims themselves. These children are at high risk for alcohol and substance abuse, truancy problems, discipline problems and relationship problems. Children live what they learn and learn what they live. Domestic violence passes from one generation to the next.
Victims are the most unexpected persons. They come from all walks of life and economic positions. Domestic violence discriminates against no one. It could be your neighbor, your child's teacher, the president of the PTA, someone you work with, or someone in your church circle.
To stop this violence, we must all do our part because domestic violence affects everyone, whether through actual abuse of a friend or family member, or the dollars spent for law enforcement, lost work hours, and /or hospital programs.
Education about domestic violence brings understanding to the problem and alerts us to the signs of abuse. We must ask questions when we suspect domestic violence, even if we do not want to embarrass the person. By not asking questions, we are telling the victim that domestic violence is normal or we don't care. We must understand that victims do not choose batterers, but the batterers choose victims; and victims do not stay in a violent relationship because they like getting hit, but they feel it is not safe for them to leave or that they have no other choice.
Definition of the Problem
Battering is a pattern of forcible control that one person exercises over another
Battering is behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents an individual from doing what s/he wishes or forces them to behave in ways they do not want.
Battering includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, and economic deprivation.
What is Abuse
Abuse includes, but is not limited to the following:
Hitting, slapping, strangulation, etc.
Kicking, burning, cutting
Using or threatening to use a weapon
Killing or maiming a pet
Destroying home or belongings
Forced sex, forces sex with others
Unwanted sexual practices
Sexual abuse of victim's child
Constant verbal harassment
Food or sleep deprivation
Threats or accusations
Isolation from family or friends
Not permitting victim to work
Taking victim's money