Every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the United States according to previous FBI statistics.
Beatings are the single major cause of injury to women, more common than auto accidents, rapes, and muggings combined.
Each year in the U.S. , 1,400 women die because of domestic violence. Approximately 22 percent of college women have experienced physical violence in dating relationships.
10-30% of all women have been involved in abusive relationships.
Domestic violence, also known as "battering" or "spouse/partner abuse," is defined as assaultive behavior between adults in an intimate relationship.
This type of assaulting behavior can be inflicted by a current or former partner and be verbal/psychological, physical or sexual in nature which is intended to harm the physical or mental well-being of the victim. Rarely is domestic violence an isolated incident; it is a pattern of coercive behavior intended to exert control and domination by the offender toward the victim.
The recurring abusive incidents usually escalate in frequency and severity and can result in serious physical injury, disablement, or death, without outside intervention to protect the victim, stop the violence, and hold the perpetrator accountable.
The Various Forms of Domestic/Dating Violence
Aggressive behavior done by the perpetrator to the victim's body. It includes pushing, shoving, kicking, slapping, punching, choking, biting, pinching, hair-pulling, hitting, burning, clubbing, stabbing, shooting, and threatening with a knife or gun, and other acts of commission. Sometimes, particular areas of the body are targeted, such as hitting the face or hitting the abdomen during pregnancy.
Physical attacks or abuse of the genital areas or breast, unwanted touching or pinching of breasts, rape with objects, forced sexual activity with a third person, forced sexual relations accompanied by either physical violence or the threat of physical violence; includes marital rape.
Emotional/Psychological Violence :
Assaults against a person's well-being by systematically degrading the victim's self-worth through name-calling, derogatory or demeaning comments; forcing the victim to perform humiliating, degrading acts; threats to harm or kill the victim or victim's family; controlling access to money, sleep habits, eating habits, social relations; and actions to imply the victim is "crazy."
Includes all the elements of emotional/psychological violence but these behaviors follow at least one violent episode or attack on the victim, and maintains the impending threat of another assault.
Destruction of Property or Pets:
A form of violence done without touching the victim's body. The assaults are made viciously on the victim by destroying personal belongings, family heirlooms, or the family pet. The destruction is purposeful and the psychological impact may be as devastating as a physical attack.
What To Do If You Are Being Abused:
• Talk with a friend or relative you trust about what's going on. They may be a good source of support.
• Contact your local domestic violence program to find out about laws and community resources (i.e..: shelters, counseling, legal assistance) before you need them. They can help you plan ways to stay safe.
• Ask your health care provider or a friend to take photographs of your injuries and make sure that they are put in your medical records, or in a safe place with a written description of what happened. This information will make it easier for you if you decide to take legal action in the future, such as getting a restraining order, pressing criminal charges, or obtaining child custody if you need to do this.
• Arrange a signal with a neighbor to let hem know when you need help (i.e.: turning a porch light on during the day, or pulling down a particular window shade).
• Keep money stored in a secret place so that you have access to it in a n emergency, or if you decide ot leave. Be sure to include some coins so you can make calls from a pay phone if you need to.
• Call 911 if you are in danger or need help.
If you decide to leave, take important papers with you (i.e.: birth certificates, passports, health insurance documents, photo ID/driver's license, checkbook, food stamps, Social Security cards). You may want to store these papers as well as clothes and other things you would need at a neighbor's or friend's house.