Domestic violence is a problem that affects every community across the country. It crosses all races, social and economic backgrounds, cultures, religions and relationship types.
Domestic Violence is not a private matter, a couples problem, a domestic "squabble" or a "fight." It is not a momentary loss of temper or the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Violence is a choice the abuser makes.
Domestic Violence is a deliberate pattern of abusive tactics used by one partner in an intimate relationship to obtain and maintain power and control over the other person.
Most victims of domestic violence are women
Women are a "significantly greater" risk of intimate partner violence than men. By conservative estimates, 1.5 million women in the United States are assaulted by their intimate partners every year. (Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers Disease Control and Prevention, July 2000)
In the United States, a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assault. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey, August 1995)
Alabama reflects national statistics. In 1998, 83 percent of the victims of domestic violence cases reported by state law enforcement agencies were females. For this reason, female pronouns are used on this web site to refer to victims.
Domestic Violence includes a wide range of abuse including:
- Physical Assaults
- Sexual Assault
- Psychological abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Manipulation of children
- Economic control
- Destruction of property or pets
Physical violence against women by intimates is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior. A recent national survey of 8,000 women found that women whose partners were jealous, controlling or verbally abusive were significantly more likely to report being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by their partners. "Having a verbally abusive partner was the variable most likely to predict that a woman would be victimized by an intimate partner." (NVAW Survey, July 2000)
Domestic violence is a crime
Various states have passed new legislation which names domestic violence as a separate crime in the criminal code and stiffens penalties for abusers.
Domestic violence is still a hidden crime
Most domestic violence is not reported to the police. Only one-fourth of all physical assaults against women by intimates were reported to police, according to a national survey. "The majority of victims who did not report [domestic violence] thought the police would not or could not do anything for them." (NVAW Survey, July 2000)
Domestic violence is damaging physically and emotionally
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.(Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991)
Some 22 to 35 percent of women who visit medical emergency rooms are treated for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse. (David Adams, "Identifying the Assaultive Husband in Court: You be the Judge," Boston Bar Journal, 33-4, July/August 1989)
Domestic violence becomes more dangerous -- more frequent and more violent -- over time
"One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person." (The Basics of Batterer Treatment, Common Purpose, Inc., Jamaica Plain, MA)
Nearly half of men who beat their wives do so at least three times a year. (AMA Diagnostic & Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence, 1994)
Domestic violence can lead to fatalities
In homicides in which the victim-killer relationship is known, one-third of female victims were killed by an intimate. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Sex Differences in Violent Victimization, September 1997)
In one study, 88 percent of victims of domestic violence fatalities had a documented history of physical abuse. (Florida Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Florida Mortality Review Project, 1997)
Domestic Abuse is just that -- abuse. No one deserves to be made a victim, whether it is yourself or your children. Take a step forward, outside of that cycle of abuse. Baby steps are fine but know that others are there to walk with you.