It’s an all too familiar story; a woman shows up at the emergency room beaten and bruised as a result of a fight with her boyfriend. A husband shows up cut and bloody because his wife got upset with him. Everyday thousands of men and women experience a form of domestic violence. Sadly, many of these cases go unreported and the abuse worsens. In an effort to shed light on domestic violence, October has been declared National Domestic Abuse Awareness month. There are hopes that victims, their families, and any person in a relationship will learn what domestic abuse is, how it can be prevented, and how you can get help if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Every day in the United States, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. In the course of a year, that results in 1,095 deaths. 1,095 women have their lives cut short because of violence that stems from unhealthy relationships. However, men are also victims of domestic abuse. It’s reported that 40 percent of severe physical violence victims are men. Men are often overlooked as victims because they’re seen as superior to women. Similar to a long held belief that men can’t be raped, many still believe men can’t be abused by a woman. Unfortunately, that has not proven to be the case.
Domestic violence often occurs in a physical form where one partner harms the body of the other partner. However, there are four other forms of domestic violence: emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual. Emotional abuse results in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. It occurs when a person is constantly degraded or put down lowering their self-esteem. Similarly, psychological abuse affects the mental health of the victim and can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. Financial abuse occurs when one partner takes control of the finances of the relationship leading to the other partner to fear spending money on items they may need. Sexual abuse is also common and can occur when one partner is forced by the other to perform sexual acts against their will or without consent.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, please realize you are not alone. Around the world, one in the three women has been physically or sexually abused, most often by a partner or family member, at some point in their lifetime. Fortunately, there are now more outlets for which women can find help. If you are in immediate danger, you can go to a local hospital, police, or fire station to receive help. To receive help anonymously, contact the Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233. To find a mental health counselor in your area visit https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/. For more information on domestic violence and prevention visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Remember that there are ways to seek help. Any kind of abuse that occurs is never the fault of the victim. It can be extremely challenging to leave a relationship where there was once love or the partner apologizes for the abuse. Take the time to think about your own safety and well-being when it comes to your relationship. It is never okay for verbal, physical, or any type of abuse to occur in a relationship. Healthy relationships are built on foundations of love and trust.
To help spread awareness about domestic violence, people are encouraged to wear purple during the month of October. There are numerous lectures and events occurring across the country to bring awareness to this topic. No individual should every feel unsafe or unloved in a relationship. Learn to recognize signs of abuse and find ways to help yourself and your loved ones should the need arise.