Domestic violence occurs in an estimated 4 million intimate relationships each year in the United States. We are now recognizing and dealing with the urgency and severity of domestic violence in cities from coast to coast.
The statistics reveal that domestic violence is one of the most important public health problems in our country and it is time that we all address this issue. Consider the following findings:
The Surgeon General of the United States reports that domestic violence causes more injury to adult women than cancers, heart attacks, or strokes.
FBI statistics point out that a woman is battered every 15-18 seconds in the United States.
More than three million children witness domestic violence, and more than four million women are battered to death by their husbands or boyfriends each year.
Approximately one third of female murder victims in the United States are killed by their husband or boyfriend.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence, partner abuse, and battering refer to the physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological abuse, performed by one person against another. The abuser and the victim are involved in or have had an intimate or romantic relationship.
Who Are The Victims?
Domestic violence, including battering, happens in all socioeconomic levels, to urban or rural women, young or old, with child and childless, single, married, divorced – and within all religious, racial, ethnic groups, and geographic locations. Councils On Family Violence has designated domestic violence battering as an “Unreported Epidemic.” It is important to note, that women initiate and carry out physical assaults on their partners as often as men do, according to a 1993 study by Straus and Gelles. However, when it comes to serious physical abuse, women are still overwhelmingly on the receiving end.
The Impact Of Domestic Violence On Women:
More women are injured through domestic violence than by rape, muggings, and car accidents combined. Many pregnant women have been and may be victims of domestic violence abuse. Forced sex or marital rape is the leading type of sexual assault. Yet marital rape or forced sex maybe the most underreported and least legally punished crime of partner abuse because many victims are reluctant to report and file charges against the abuser, for various reasons. The Justice Department’s 1994 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) found that only about half of the women who suffered domestic violence between 1987 and 1991 reported the abuse to law enforcement authorities.
Domestic Violence and African Americans
African Americans, including African American Women suffer deadly violence from family members at rates decidedly higher than for other racial groups in the United States. However, it is observed that research concerning family violence among African Americans is inadequate.
Factors such as the breakdown of families, unemployment and underemployment, poor schools, inadequate vocational skills and training, bad housing, the influence and use of drugs, and the density of liquor stores in the inner city contribute to the problem of domestic violence. All of these ingredients may compound and coalesce into a strong undercurrent of frustration that can lead to domestic violence.
A Painful Dilemma