Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender.
The stereotype of domestic violence is not always the reality. It can happen in any family and to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence crosses all economic backgrounds and education levels. Even if only one person is the target of the abuse, it still affects others in the family. Children growing up in abusive families may develop problems themselves. When they grow up to have partners and children of their own they may allow the pattern to continue. This is why domestic violence is a problem affecting the whole of society.
Domestic abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner or relation. The abuser’s behaviors physically harm, arouse fear, prevent another person from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse can include the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.
It’s not always easy to spot an abusive relationship.
Many abusive relationships start out very normal. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.
When people think of domestic abuse, they often picture battered women who have been physically assaulted. But not all abusive relationships involve violence. Just because someone is not battered and bruised doesn’t mean they’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked—even by the person being abused.
If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call or chat online with an advocate to talk about what’s going on.
Some important statistics about domestic abuse
- Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hot lines nationwide.
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
- Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
- Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
These statistics and more can be found at www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics
Domestic abuse is nothing to ignore; if you suspect abuse:
- Speak up! Ask if something is wrong.
- Express your concern.
- Listen to the person and validate what they say.
- Offer help, reassure the person that you will keep whatever is said in confidence.
- Support his or her decisions. Let them know you will help in any way you can.
- Wait for the person to come to you.
- Judge or blame the victim.
- Pressure him or her. Any decision must be theirs.
- Give advice, leave that to the experts.
- Place conditions on your support.
Adapted from: NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
Where domestic violence is involved – a safety plan is a life plan
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after leaving. Safety planning involves how a victim will cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.
A good safety plan will have all of the vital information needed and be tailored to each unique situation, and will help walk the victim through different scenarios. Domestic violence hotline personnel are trained to create safety plans with victims, friends and family members — anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.
Binc stands ready to help booksellers facing domestic violence situations
Anyone fleeing an abusive or violent situation is urged to leave as soon as they feel endangered. In situations involving domestic violence that have resulted in an bookseller’s need to change his or her residence quickly, the Foundation may provide assistance related to the associate’s moving costs.
After receiving domestic violence assistance from Binc, one bookseller wrote:
“Finally, matters in my marriage changed for the worst and I was forced to get a protection order to keep myself safe from my husband. All financial support from him has been cut off and as I am about to embark on the final phase of my degree, student teaching. I began to despair. By finishing this degree I will be able to make a better life for my children and myself. I will achieve financial independence. But how could I do this without some assistance? I was afraid I would lose my car, my home and have no food for my children. With the help from the Foundation to pay some bills, I have the stability I need to move forward. The Foundation also provided me with links to resources that would give me on-going assistance that will get me through the other side of the situation.
I am okay. My children are okay. Thanks to the help from the Foundation, we are going to have a better life. There are not enough words to thank you for your help. But I hope my letter gives you some small sense of the gratitude I have for all you have done for us.”
– Grant recipient from Michigan
Here are some resources for finding help
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can connect a victim with information, shelters and counseling.
Domestic Shelters has a variety of useful articles and tips. Their website also has shelter listings by state.
Whether you are looking for help or wanting to help others, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a good source of information.