Know the Facts
Domestic Violence Affects Everyone
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.1 An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.2 85% of domestic violence victims are women.3 Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.4 Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.5 Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police
Domestic violence against men: Know the signs Domestic violence against men isn't always easy to identify, but it can be a serious threat. Know how to recognize if you're being abused and how to get help. By Mayo Clinic staff Women aren't the only victims of domestic violence. Understand the signs of domestic violence against men, and know how to get help.
Recognize domestic violence against men
Domestic violence also known as domestic abuse, battering or intimate partner violence occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence against men can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. It can happen in heterosexual or same sex relationships.
It might not be easy to recognize domestic violence against men. Early in the relationship, your partner might seem attentive, generous and protective in ways that later turn out to be controlling and frightening. Initially, the abuse might appear as isolated incidents. Your partner might apologize and promise not to abuse you again.
Children & Adolescents
Domestic violence affects children, even if they're just witnesses. If you have children, remember that exposure to domestic violence puts them at risk of developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, problems at school, aggressive behavior and low self-esteem. You might worry that seeking help could further endanger you and your children, or that it might break up your family. Fathers might fear that abusive partners will try to take their children away from them. However, getting help is the best way to protect your children and yourself.
More than half of the school-age children in domestic violence shelters show clinical levels of anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder (Graham-Bermann, 1994). Without treatment, these children are at significant risk for delinquency, substance abuse, school drop-out, and difficulties in their own relationships.
Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year (Carlson, 1984). Children from homes where domestic violence occurs are physically or sexually abused and/or seriously neglected at a rate 15 times the national average (McKay, 1994). Approximately, 45% to 70% of battered women in shelters have reported the presence of child abuse in their home (Meichenbaum, 1994). About two-thirds of abused children are being parented by battered women (McKay, 1994). Of the abused children, they are three times more likely to have been abused by their fathers.
Children may exhibit a wide range of reactions to exposure to violence in their home. Younger children (e.g., preschool and kindergarten) oftentimes, do not understand the meaning of the abuse they observe and tend to believe that they "must have done something wrong." Self-blame can precipitate feelings of guilt, worry, and anxiety. It is important to consider that children, especially younger children, typically do not have the ability to adequately express their feelings verbally. Consequently, the manifestation of these emotions are often behavioral. Children may become withdrawn, non-verbal, and exhibit regressed behaviors such as clinging and whining. Eating and sleeping difficulty, concentration problems, generalized anxiety, and physical complaints (e.g., headaches) are all common.
Domestic violence in later life occurs when older individuals are physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, exploited, or neglected by someone [with whom] they have an ongoing relationship. . . . Abusers intentionally use coercive tactics, such as isolation, threats, intimidation, manipulation, and violence to gain and maintain control over the victim. National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life The problem of abuse in later life occurs in all communities and affects people of all ethnic, cultural, racial, economic, and religious backgrounds. Although most victims are female, older men can be harmed, too. Domestic abuse in later life and elder abuse often go hand in hand, and the consequences on lives are very similar. Elder abuse, broadly speaking, includes physical, emotional, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, self-neglect, and abandonment of older persons terms defined by law in state adult protective services (APS) statutes.
Some people are cat people. Some people are dog people. Bird, fish, reptile and other animal-type people abound as well. "Fur People" (as pets are known in many homes) have some great assets, just by nature of being our pets. They're usually home, even in the middle of the night. Substance abuse among the pet population is rare (catnip might be an exception). Unemployment is expected of them, and they love us unconditionally. Animal companions are good for us. Studies show that people with pets have lower blood pressure, live longer lives and suffer from less anxiety.
But for victims of domestic violence, pets can become a barrier to leaving an abusive relationship and can even become a tool of violence for an abusive partner who is willing to injure or kill a pet as a retaliation or as part of a pre-emptive strike designed to gain or maintain control by means of terrorism. The more you or your children are attached to a pet, the more that pet can be seen by an abuser as a means to control you. Pets are also often seen as being in competition with an abusive partner for your attention.
Even if a spouse has never been violent towards YOU, it's vital that you take even the threat of violence against a pet seriously - not only for the pet's safety, but for your own as well. Tons of research has been done on the issue of animal abuse and the relation to child abuse and spouse battering and the facts are in: threats or actions against your pet are a very strong indicator that violence is on the way for you or your children.
Of 50 shelters surveyed about women and children escaping from domestic violence, 85% said that women in their shelter talked about pet abuse, 63% of children talked about pet abuse, and 83% said that they had observed the coexistence of domestic violence and pet abuse.
New Survey from National Domestic Violence Hotline Reveals 1 in 4 Domestic Violence Victims Would Not Call the Police for Help
Today, The Hotline is releasing survey results that show a strong disconnect between victims of domestic violence seeking help from law enforcement and the support those authorities are tasked with providing. There are a number of factors that create major obstacles for victims attempting to cope with domestic violence – from distrust of the authorities to fear of punishment from their abusive partner. In order to shed light on these factors, The Hotline conducted a survey via its chat services. A brief overview of the survey's findings can be seen in the infographic below. These findings will also be presented at the White House Domestic Violence Summit in October, as part of The Hotline’s larger Domestic Violence Awareness Month plans.
“Our objective was to gain insight into why women who experience domestic abuse are reluctant to call the authorities,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO, the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “By gathering data and better understanding these insights, our hope is that we can highlight the importance of law enforcement to provide comprehensive training that will focus on treating domestic violence victims and survivors with dignity and respect.”
Am I in an Abusive Relationship?
Ask if something is wrong.
Listen and validate.
Support his or her decisions.
Wait for him or her to come to you.
Pressure him or her.
Place conditions on your support.
Adapted from NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence