Domestic violence is one of those issues that people keep so very secret, as though there were shame in being hurt. I am so happy that Elizabeth Wintz from The Formerly Destitute Diva agreed to write on this important issue today. If someone is hurting you physically, emotionally or in other ways or if you suspect someone else is being abused please read this and take action today, before the situation gets even worse!
by Elizabeth (Izzi) Wintz
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.
There are five types of domestic abuse. Physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and economic or financial abuse.
The first is physical violence. This includes, but is not limited to, physically injuring a person by grabbing, pinching, hitting, slapping, etc. Also included in this category are withholding resources such as medication, food and drink, or forcing someone to ingest chemicals such as drugs or alcohol.
Secondly, there is sexual abuse. This type of abuse can happen in any relationship, not just a traditional marriage. This is when partner forces the other to engage in sexual activity against their will. This can also include criticizing someone’s sexual performance, accusations of cheating, making one partner feel they are less than desirable in a derogatory fashion, and withholding sex.
Emotional abuse occurs when a partner is made to feel as if they have little or no self worth. This happens when a person is consistently criticized, berated, belittled, insulted, and manipulated.
Physiological abuse. An example of this is when a person is isolated from their support system, intimidated, threatened, harassed, blackmailed, or stalked.
Financial or economic abuse occurs when a partner is forced to be dependent on another. This can happen when someone withholds money, forbids employment or schooling, interferes with a person’s ability to maintain employment, identity theft, stealing social security or welfare, or harassing a partner by holding them accountable for every dime spent.
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Eighty five percent of domestic abuse victims are women. If you think you know someone who is suffering, there are many ways to help. Be supportive, believe what they are saying. Often, these women suffer at the hands of the abusers for years before telling anyone. They are often conditioned to believe no one will believe them. Encourage your friend to seek help from an agency that helps women in these situations. These women are often operating with very little support and may be very isolated.
It is also important to note that this type of violence doesn’t occur solely in heterosexual relationships. Intimate partner abuse is also prevalent. Certain states do not have laws protecting intimate partners. You can refer to http://www.womenslaw.org for links to your state.
There are a number of agencies that can help. I’ve listed a number below, but every county has a dedicated agency to assist women. You can find these agencies in your yellow pages or online.
If you need assistance or know someone who needs help, there are some numbers listed below.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!