Domestic Violence Hurts Everyone
Of course it is possible here, it is possible anywhere. It could be any one of our mothers, sisters or daughters.
As we all know now, after more than seven years, Drew Peterson has been convicted for the death of his wife, Stacey Peterson, and is suspected in the disappearance of his college girlfriend Kathleen Savio.
When we hear about stories like this, most of us do not entertain the thought that something like this could happen in our own community. Hopefully it never will; however, the reality is that it can.
Domestic violence is a crime of control. It does not see the color of skin, marital status, sexual preference, level of education, age or even gender. That is right, not even gender; however, most domestic violence victims are women.
In many cases, it usually starts with verbal abuse or a slight shove. If not addressed at that point, it almost always gets worse as the abuser will think that it is ok. It can escalate into a push, a slap, a punch, severe beatings and even rape.
Some examples of abuse include but are not limited to: name-calling or putdowns, withholding money, sexual assault, keeping a partner from relationships with friends and family, stopping a partner from seeking employment, actual or threatened physical harm, stalking and intimidation.
Here are some startling statistics: one out of three women in America have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children. Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually. Approximately 324,000 women experience violence by an intimate partner annually during pregnancy. In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner.
Additionally, statistic show that children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs are more likely to be abused and/or neglected and even though they may not be physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavioral problems. Further, as children grow older and enter into relationships, they may think that it is ok or normal to abuse or be abused.
In most cases, the abuser will apologize, promise that it will never happen again, blame the victim and say that the abuse was not as bad as the victim claims. In any case, it is imperative to get out of the relationship as it will continue and likely get worse. Better yet, at the first sign of abuse, whether emotional or physical, get out! Unfortunately, many victims are afraid to leave. This is exactly what the abuser wants. If this is the case, notify someone close i.e. a family member, friend or neighbor who would be willing to call the police or a local organization that will provide assistance.
If you witnesses domestic violence, please call the police immediately, as it may prevent serious injury or could even save a life. The first Neighborhood Watch was formed because a woman was raped and murdered and no one did anything to save her or help apprehend her attacker.
How would anyone of us feel if a loved one was a victim of abuse? How would we feel if they were seriously injured or killed? Even worse, if it was witnessed and those who witnessed the abuse stood by and did nothing because they did not want to get involved or thought it was not their problem?
For more information about domestic violence or how to help someone who is a victim, contact your local law enforcement agency and/or battered women’s shelter.