Domestic Violence is a very serious subject that needs to be talked about and understood. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month to acknowledge and understand domestic violence, what to look for, and how to prevent it. Domestic violence occurs in many forms and does not have a stereotype for any group of individuals. Domestic violence can happen to anyone. So please be knowledgeable of the signs and traits so you can be aware if you or a loved one could possibly be in an abusive relationship. No one should ever be treated in a demeaning or humiliating manner and should never be abused by another. No one deserves any kind of abuse upon them. To understand the severity of domestic violence, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) present research based statistics on abuse.
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.(NCADV)
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.(NCADV)
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (CDC)
1 in 10 women in the United States will be raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. (CDC)
1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.(NCADV)
Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.(NCADV)
Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior.(NCADV)
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Why do victims stay?
This question is asked so much about why victims don’t just leave the abusive. This is a common misconception of the severity of domestic abuse and why it’s affects the victim greatly. It is never the victim’s fault for staying or leaving. The victim never asked for abuse and does not deserve abuse by any means. So these are a few reasons why the victims stays in a toxic relationship.
Inconsistent abuse: The abuser will become abusive rarely or on certain occasions and when they are not being abusive, the abuser will be extremely romantic and be a dream to the victim, creating confusion and disillusion in the victim.
Keeping a man mentality: We live in a society where women are more valued when they have a man and can keep a man. So a woman may feel less of a woman if she can’t “keep her man” and work out the relationship.
Isolation: Because of the abuse, the victim will want to hide it from family and friends, creating distance and isolation from loved ones ultimately making the victim feel lonely and feeling like they have no one to turn to.
Divorce is forbidden: In more religious based families, divorce is not an option so the victim may believe strongly about working out the relationship due to the need to uphold their beliefs.
Police and others take the abuser side: This is a very serious issue that needs have more open dialogue about because the police are the ones who need to protect but because of the dominant male mentality, the police and other family and friends may take the side of the abuser because they believe the victim “made him/her mad” or “it’s not that serious” or “but he’s such a nice guy” The abuser can make themselves look good in front of others to make it seem like it’s the victim’s fault or the abuse is overdramatized.
Anxiety of financial stability and children: Financial stability is another major issue in relationship because the victim may not be the breadwinner in the relationship and believes they will be homeless and cannot provide for their children when they split from the abuser.
May become more violent: The victim knows the abuser better than anyone so the victim thinks the abuser will become more violent after the split which puts fear into them.
Lack of knowledge to safety and support: The victim may not know about the resources they have access to such as safety hotlines, shelters, and various support groups they can use.
Fear of losing custody of child: If the victim has children, especially if the abuser seen as a nice individual, the victim may lose their child or has fear of losing the child because of the abusers position and networking.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Traits of abuse
There are common traits to look for in an abuser to get a clear understanding if someone is on the brink of abuse or is currently abusing.
The abuser minimizes the seriousness of the abuse: The abuser will play down the abuse and make it seem as though nothing happened and will proceed to get the victim gifts and be romantic to play off the seriousness of the abuse.
The victim is treated as property and or sexual object: The abuser will treat the victim like they are something to be owned and had instead of an actual human being. The abuser does not respect the victim the way they should.
The abuser has low self esteem and feels powerless in the world: The reason why abusers abuse is simply because they want some kind of control, and this control will be over another person. The abuser wants to control the victim in every aspect of their lives to feel powerful, this is the true root of the abuse.
Blames the violence on other factors: The abuser will make the victim seem like the abuse is their fault or other factors that have come into play such as stress, work related, the victim’s behavior, etc. so the abuser does not have to take responsibility for their actions.
Along with traits there are also key warning signs to look for in a potential abuser or current abuser to find out if a loved one is being abused.
Blaming victim for everything
Control of finances
Control what victim wheres and how acts
Embarrassing or humiliating victim
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
How You Can Help
The National Domestic Violence Hotline site gives key information to provide a friend or family member of a victim on how to help when a loved one is being abused. Watching a loved one go through an abusive relationship can be very difficult but all you can do is be supportive and let them know they are not alone. Be there for them and give resources on how to get away from the toxic individual. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides seven steps that are beneficial to help a victim of abuse below.
“ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE IN A VERY DIFFICULT AND SCARY SITUATION, BE SUPPORTIVE AND LISTEN.
Let them know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure them that they are not alone and that there is help and support out there. It may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse. Let them know that you are available to help whenever they may need it. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen.”
Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize their decisions or try to guilt them. They will need your support even more during those times.”
“IF THEY END THE RELATIONSHIP, CONTINUE TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF THEM.
Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or family member may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. They will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.”
“ENCOURAGE THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE RELATIONSHIP WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
Support is critical and the more they feel supported by people who care for them, the easier it will be for them to take the steps necessary to get and stay safe away from their abusive partner. Remember that you can call the hotline to find local support groups and information on staying safe.”
“HELP THEM DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN.
Check out our information on creating a safety plan for wherever they are in their relationship — whether they’re choosing to stay, preparing to leave, or have already left.”
“ENCOURAGE THEM TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO CAN PROVIDE HELP AND GUIDANCE.
Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get a referral to one of these programs near you. Offer to go with them. If they have to go to the police, court or lawyer’s office, offer to go along for moral support.”
“REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT “RESCUE” THEM.
Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately they are the one who has to make the decisions about what they want to do. It’s important for you to support them no matter what they decide, and help them find a way to safety and peace.”
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
It’s Not Just Physical
Although physical abuse is the most commonly understood abuse, verbal and psychological abuse is just as effective to cause harm to a victim. This kind of abuse cannot be seen on the body, this kind of abuse leaves a mark on the mind. An abuser will break down a victim’s self-esteem by insulting their body, intelligence, and how lucky they are to have the abuser. The abuser will degrade and demean the victim to create a long lasting impression on the victim’s mental health just as much as physical abuse. Odds are the abuser is inflicting verbal as well as physical abuse in the relationship.
If you are a victim of abuse call the National Domestic Violence Hotline which is 1-800-799-7233 or you can call the local Coalition Hotline in your state. For Georgia, the hotline number is
1 (800) 334-2836. The advocates will give you advice on your situation and give you resources on local shelters and how you can handle the steps to leave the relationship. You do not deserve any kind of hate or abuse from anyone. For loved ones of the victim, follow the steps provided above and always support the victim.