Violence Against Women is an epidemic in America
Domestic violence is not only a personal tragedy; it is also an epidemic in America, as well as a serious crime. In the United States, domestic violence is the most frequent cause of serious injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings, and stranger rapes combined (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).
According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a “serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or more than 10% of the U.S. population.” These intimate partner victimizations inflict 2 million injuries resulting in 1,800 deaths annually. Every day, three women die at the hands of someone who supposedly loves them.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive or coercive behavior that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Other terms for domestic violence include wife- or husband-beating, battering, relation violence, spousal abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV). Intimate partner violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, or economic.
**PHYSICAL ABUSE: The intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing injury, harm, disability, or death. This includes scratching, pushing, shoving, throwing, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair-pulling, shaking, slapping, punching, kicking, burning, use of a weapon, and use of restraints or one’s body, size, or strength against another person.
• Physical abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.
**SEXUAL ABUSE: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred or treating someone in a sexually demeaning manner.
**PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to, constant criticism, humiliating the victim; causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; the destruction of pets and property and/or forcing isolation from family, friends, school and/or work.
**ECONOMIC ABUSE: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
Every domestic violence survivor needs to have a safety plan, especially when every second counts!
HOW TO CREATE A SAFETY PLAN
- Victims of domestic violence need a friend or family member they can trust
- If a victim doesn't have a car, find a safe place close to their home where they could be picked up
- Know the routes to the subway, bus stop, and train station nearest to the victim’s home
- Make arrangements for the victim’s pets; batterers often injure or kill pets to punish their partners for leaving or as a coercive tactic
- Victims should have a code word or phrase to use on the telephone with a friend when the abuser is present
- When the code word is used, it means the victim is in trouble and you need to call 911 for them immediately
- If a victim feels comfortable, they should tell their neighbors about the violence
- Ask the neighbors to call the police if they hear any suspicious noises or yelling coming from the home
- If there is an order of protection in place…
- The victim should keep it on their person at all times
- A copy of the order should be kept somewhere safe with a trusted friend or family member
- If you feel that you or the victim are in immediate danger, dial 911
HOW WILL THE VICTIM AND HER CHILDREN GET OUT OF THE HOME?
- Decide on a pathway if you have to leave at night
- Think of public places you can access 24 hours a day
- Know the route to police stations, hospitals, fire stations, and 24-hour convenience stores in your area
- If you leave by car, lock the car doors immediately
- Consider making an escape plan for each room in your home
- What can you do to get out of the basement or upper floors?
- Know which doors in your home have locks that work
- If you live in an apartment building, think of all the ways to get out safely
- Is there a fire escape that could get you safely to the ground?
- Is there a stairwell you could use?
- Keep your essential belongings and keys in a safe place, in case you have to leave quickly (prepare a “go” bag; hide it in a safe place)
- If you are afraid that your partner will harass you at work, make an escape route from work
- Give a photo of the abuser to a supervisor you trust and ask that this person not be allowed inside the workplace
- If you have an order of protection, give the security guard or receptionist a copy
§ Make sure your children know how to dial 911 in an emergency
§ Instruct your children on where to go in an emergency
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS TO BRING WITH YOU
• Order Of Protection
• ATM Card
• Money/Cab Fare
• Check Book, Credit Card
• Green Card
• Work Permit
• Public Assistance Identification
• Mobile Phone/Coins
• Driver's License & Registration
• Social Security Card
• Your Partner’s Social Security Number
• Medical Records
• Address Book
• Insurance Policies
• Important Legal Documents
• Police Records, Record Of Violence
• Baby’s Needs
• Children’s School and Immunization Records
• Birth Certificates
• Non-Perishable Snacks For Children
• Important Phone Numbers
BE A SURVIVOR – PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
*Victims need to keep a journal of all violent incidents
- The journal should be left with a trusted friend or family member
- Note the dates, events and threats made
*Advance your career and ability to work
- Complete school, take courses, or learn a new skill
*Try to set money aside
*Leave the money with friends or family members
§ In case of an emergency ALWAYS DIAL 911
§ The 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline number is 212.621.HOPE
§ The TTY number is 1.866.604.5350
• Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most underreported crime in the United States (FBI)
• Each year an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner (NCADV)
• Females between the ages of 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence (NCADV)
• 52 percent of all female victims live in households with children under 12 years of age (NCADV)
• 30 percent of women killed in the U.S. are killed by their husbands or boyfriends (DOJ)
• 40 percent of girls age 14-17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend (NCADV)
• Over a quarter of a million women are forcibly raped by an intimate partner annually (BJS)
• 11 percent of women in lesbian relationships report being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by an intimate partner (BJS)
• Over a half-million women are stalked by an intimate partner annually (BJS)
• 30-45 percent of all woman who are battered are battered during pregnancy, with battering increasing significantly in the last trimester (CDC)
• 324,000 pregnant woman were battered in 2010; they are 60 percent more likely to be battered than woman who are not pregnant (CDC)
• 555,000 women require medical attention each year (30-40 percent of women’s emergency room visits are for injuries due to domestic violence--CDC)
• 145,000 women need immediate hospitalization (CDC)
• 65 percent of men who assaulted their female partners will also assault their children
• 15.5 million children a year are affected by domestic violence (FBI)
• 8 million paid workdays are lost each year due to violence; that is the equivalent of 32,114 full-time jobs (NCADV)
• The costs of Intimate Partner Violence exceeds $8.3 billion, (which includes $6.2 billion for physical assault, $461 million for stalking, $460 million for rape, and $1.2 billion in the value of lost lives)(NCADV)