Domestic Violence Awareness Month
More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the U.S. having experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Source: National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Summary Report. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, Atlanta, GA, and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Source:Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, GA.
85% of domestic violence victims are women. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003.
Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” December 2006.
Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. Source: Frieze, I.H., Browne, A. (1989) Violence in Marriage. In L.E. Ohlin & M. H. Tonry, Family Violence. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago
Abuse doesn’t have to be physical to destroy a person. Psychological abuse is defined as any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
- “You’re always arguing with me. A wife should never argue with her husband.”
- “What were you thinking? You’re so incompetent.”
- “Don’t temp me to hit you.”
- “Let me do the talking; people listen to men.”
Psychological abuse always precedes physical abuse and is reported by survivors to be as detrimental. It starts slowly and escalates over time so that by the time the victim wants to get out, it is too scary to leave. A story that I have heard many times is about a woman that marries in the church. When she comes to realize her situation is becoming unbearable, she is told to be a better wife. She is encouraged to submit and suffer for Christ. Often nobody asks her the hard questions to hear her whole story. Instead, they silence her complaints and admonish her to show respect for her husband in public. Often these women stay for decades believing this is their only option as a Christian. In this, the church is contributing to the abuse, enabling this husband to treat her any way he likes.
I often get asked about the line between disfunction and abuse. How can you tell between a normal marriage with normal arguments and an abusive marriage? Here‘s a simple article explaining the difference. Abuse is a pattern of behavior with the intent to control the other, steeped in entitlement to that control
If you or someone you know is in abuse, please get help. Nobody deserves to be treated like this. There is hope and a new life available for you. In Colorado Springs, I co-lead a Christian group called Refuge that meets on Sunday evenings. The phone number is 719-644-6824. Also, TESSA is our local victims advocacy organization. They offer a 24 hour crisis line, counseling, legal aid and shelter. Nationally, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for those needing hearing assistance.