-1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
-1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
-The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
"That won't happen to me."
"He hit me once, it won't happen again."
"It's my fault for provoking her."
These are common phrases said when one is in an abusive relationship. It sounds familiar, and we want to believe that people will change. But it's not as simple as it sounds; there's nothing simple about abusive relationships.
One common misconception is why people stay in abusive relationships, "Why don't you leave?" People being abused in a relationship are scared to leave, and if it's already escalated to threats and physical harm, it makes leaving harder, it now becomes Russian Roulette: you're chancing your life and you never know when that bullet will come.
Why did Rihanna, Tina Turner, and Janay Rice stay with their abusive partners? Because they loved their significant others and truly believed they would change. As obvious as it is that they're in danger, we can't force people to see why they should break away. There's already psychological damage done, and they become less likely to resist, less likely to run.
Even if somebody is brave enough to leave a domestic violent relationship, there's still no guarantee it's over. The perpetrator becomes so wrapped up in getting their ex back, keep them in their control--they think it's love. It's sick, it's twisted, and it's scary.
There's an even scarier threat under the radar. In 2002, the D.C. Sniper shootings occurred, killing 17 people in a terrifying 23 day ordeal. While the nation was desperate for answers, the motive was shocking. John Muhammad, the mastermind of the massacre, was planning to kill his ex wife, but used the other senseless killings as a way to cover his tracks. Thankfully, his ex wife, Mildred, was never shot. But she has revealed in her marriage to Muhammad, she was abused by him, so severely that she had a restraining order put in place.
In 2016, Omar Mateen killed 50 people at the Orlando Pulse Nightclub. His ex wife, Sitora Yusufiy, revealed she was abused by him.
Studies have shown there are links between domestic violence and mass shootings. In 2009 to 2015, FBI data found that 57 percent of the cases included a spouse, former spouse or other family member among the victims — and that 16 percent of the attackers had previously been charged with domestic violence.(https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/world/americas/...) This is known as Intimate Terrorism, and not only can domestic violence endanger the victim in the relationship, but others around them.
Any of us could end up in a domestic violent relationship: men, women, celebrities, straight, gay, anybody. We need to do more as a society to protect each other, and ourselves. If you know somebody being abused, support them, not judge them. Offer resources, educate yourself, trust your instincts, take a stand to say domestic violence is wrong. It's our responsibility to take care of our loved ones, and that includes interfering and protecting them when they're being abused. We live in a scary world, but at least we can support each other in this scary world.
For more information and support for domestic violence:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: