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So what is domestic violence? Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors, violence or threats of violence that one person uses to establish power over an intimate partner in order to control that partner’s actions and activities. Domestic violence is not a disagreement, a marital spat, or an anger management problem. Domestic violence is abusive, disrespectful, and hurtful behaviors that one intimate partner chooses to use against the other partner.
In recent research, black women are two and a half times more likely to be killed by their partner than White women, according to a new study published by the Violence Policy Center. Even more startling, “Of black victims who knew their offenders, 52 percent (216 out of 415) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders.”
But how do abused women regain their voice once it has been stolen by their abusers after years of emotional and physical torment. Who or what will be in their corner to help them gather a cadance of vocal confidence to articulate their pain which, therefore, will empower them to regain their womanhood.
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley, a professor of social work at Howard University whose research focuses on Black women and domestic violence, says violence between intimate partners in the black community is still a taboo subject and that cultural and religious beliefs often confuse women who are seeking help.
“We don’t really talk about domestic violence,” Bent-Goodley said. “African-American women turn to either their friends or their faith-based community. Unfortunately, many of our faith-based communities tell them that divorce is a sin and that they should stay in the relationship. Some of the messages that we get can stop us from reaching out for help.”
Tiffany Lindley, a health care professional who has worked with domestic violence victims in Dallas for more than four years, told NewsOne that Black women see few representations of themselves in domestic violence relationships.
Here are some few statistics and signs of domestic violence.
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
- Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
- The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
- Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
- Repeatedly pressuring you to have sex
Make sure you read my article tomorrow on domestic violence in the workplace.