According to Alpha Chi Omega, one in four women experience domestic violence during their life. Three out of four Americans know someone personally affected by domestic violence. And, on average, three or more woman are murdered a day by their husband or boyfriend. Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? You should be.
Domestic Violence Awareness is Alpha Chi Omega's national philanthropy. Our mission is to educate others on the topic, prevent it, and help those who are or were affected by it. Domestic violence, by definition of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is a “pattern of coercive behaviors used to control an intimate partner.” Domestic violence does not include only physical abuse. It includes mental abuse by threatening, blaming, isolation, dominance, intimidation, and denial.
There is generally a cycle that domestic abuse follows. It begins with tension building, incident, reconciliation, and calm. During tension building, victims feel scared and weak, and as though they need to satisfy the abuser to avoid violence. Then an incident occurs; this can be physical, verbal, or emotional. During reconciliation, the abuser apologizes and attempts to earn back trust from the victim. This is often where denial and blaming occurs to the victim from the abuser. Lastly, the calm after the storm. The incident is seen as though it never occurred and the victim is no longer abused, but treated well (The Cycle of Abuse).
Domestic violence rarely occurs between strangers. According to the US Department of Justice, more often than not, the act is performed by someone known to the victim, whether it be a friend, peer, classmate, boyfriend, husband, etc.
These facts are not easy to take in, that is why we need you. Educating others and learning how to prevent domestic violence are two keys in lowering the rates. Learning how to recognize early signs up violence such as controlling, blaming, threatening, help individuals get out of situations before it becomes too late. If you are exposed to a situation where you see another individual in this type of situation, step in and make a difference, do not just be a bystander. Domestic violence is not an act that only affects women, however, the statistics are higher. Make a difference by providing service to shelters, donating clothes to those who cannot financially afford it, educate others on signs of violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is a scenario that is incredibly common, especially for women ages 20-24. As stated previously, one in four women are affected by domestic violence at some point in their life. The situation is also one to go highly unnoticed as victims rarely come forward. As researched by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, "only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police." Victims are often diagnosed with PTSD from such attacks. These attacks affect their lives in numerous ways such as being fearful of relationships, growing anxiety, lost trust, and so much more.
One incident can impact an individual for a lifetime. Make a difference, take a stand, end domestic violence.