Domestic violence has become America's most common crime and tragically its least reported. The percentages are overwhelming, and the statistics can be "hard to swallow," but it is important to remember that behind each statistic is face with a name. The impact of violence is far reaching. How does a mother survive, not just the blows to her body, but the terror and fear written on her child's heart and reflected in her child's eyes?Domestic violence is defined as abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another partner. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. (USDOJ, 2009)It has been said that, "Domestic violence is America's hidden war. And the battleground is in all our homes." The truth of that statement is seen in the following statistics presented by Shank and Hunter (2009):Current estimates reveal that every 15 seconds an act of domestic violence occurs somewhere in the United States.
Every 6 hours a woman is battered to death.
Annually that translates into more than 2.5 million victims per year. And more than 1 million of those victims, primarily women, will have to seek medical assistance for injuries caused by battering.
It is nearly impossible to comprehend the devastation and destruction that happens with a swift punch to the face or kick in the gut. Imagine yourself fleeing from an abusive partner in the middle of the night with two children, six dollars in your purse and the clothes you're wearing. Where will you go? And if you manage to make it out alive, how will you support yourself?Here again the statistics reveal (http://www.silentwitness.net/sub/latest_reserch.htm#half) that this crisis has reached epidemic proportions:Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15-44. Children are involved in 60% of domestic violence cases and more than three million of them will witness firsthand acts of domestic violence each year.
Up to 50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence.
One in 10 calls made to alert police of domestic violence is placed by a child in the home.
More than 53% of male abusers beat their children.
One of every three abused children becomes an adult abuser or victim and research confirms that frequent exposure to violence not only predisposes children to social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life thus increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.
We, as a society and as individuals simply must grapple with the reality that every incidence of domestic violence a child witnesses changes that wiring in ways that can cause problems in development: excessive irritability, sleep issues, fear of being alone, difficulty in acquiring and using language. Boys who witness domestic violence between their parents are twice as likely to become abusive toward their own spouses…and girls are at higher risk of entering and remaining in an abusive relationship. Direct service programs that will help mothers and their children as they face new and different challenges must be created. They need access to legal, financial and emotional counseling to assist in making sense of the new realities, including networking opportunities for employment and housing that will make it possible for her to turn this new safety into a new future.
According to family theory family abuse is a result of members who act by omission or commission physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment that hampers individual healthy development. (Olson) Coping abilities include education, training, and utilization of resources....
References: merican Psychiatric Association (2009). Domestic Violence. Retrieved July 7, 2009 from http://healthyminds.org/Main-Topic/Domestic-Violence.aspxMyers, D. G. (2008). Social Psychology (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw−Hill.
Olson, L. (2005). A dialectical approach to theorizing about aggression between intimates. Retrieved July 5, 2009 from http://www.ncf/pdf/olsen.pdfPejic, A. (2005). Verbal abuse: a problem for pediatric nurses. Continuing Education Series. Retrieved July 5, 2009 from http://www.pediatricnursing.netShank, S. L., & Hunter, C. (2009). Domestic Violence: Breaking the Silence. Retrieved July 9, 2009, from the National Center of Continuing Education: http://homestudyce.net/onlinecourses/9030.htmlUnited States Department of Justice (2009). About Domestic Violence.
Retrieved July 9, 2009 from http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/domviolence.htm
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