Women and children are not the only victims of domestic violence, but they carry the greatest physical and psychological burden. One in four women will be the victim of intimate partner violence in the course of her life, while three million children are exposed to it each year.
Intimate partner violence accounts for 20 percent of non-fatal violent crimes against women while approximately 30 percent of all female homicides are committed by someone with whom the woman was intimately involved. Victims suffer from dramatic rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD as well as substance abuse and suicidality. A recent study based on a representative U.S. sample of over 25,000 adults indic
ated that new onsets of major mental health problems were more than twice as common amongst those exposed to domestic violence in the past year.
Experiencing violence is always traumatic, but violence at the hands of the person with whom you live, on whom you may depend, and even, love — often occurring repeatedly, arbitrarily, and accompanied by emotional abuse — represents an even deeper trauma. It can cause a dramatic unraveling of one’s self esteem, emotional stability, and capacity to think.
Children who live in violent homes suffer whether or not they directly experience the violence themselves. They often have significant behavioral and emotional problems including depression and conduct disorders. Their cognitive development is also impaired.
Research shows that men who witnessed domestic violence as children are twice as likely to be abusers in adulthood; and there is a 30-60 percent chance that men and women who witness domestic violence in their childhoods will enter into abusive relationships as adults.
To effectively address this significant public health issue, two things are needed. First, to overcome our temerity and denial of the problem. Second, we must expand services to address the contributing and resulting psychological factors affecting those in domestic violence situations. We must accept that domestic violence is our collective problem.
- Domestic Violence, Shelters, Homelessness: Wake Up, America (theepochtimes.com)