Did you know:
It is estimated that nearly one-third of all American women have been hit, beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
Women of all races are equally vulnerable to abuse by an intimate partner.
One in five high school girls report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
In a national survey, 50% of men who frequently abused their wife, also abused their children.
Studies report that between 3.3-10 million children witness some sort of domestic violence annually.
For more startling facts, see endabuse.org.
What can we do?
Teach children early about violence, and how to express anger appropriately.
Be there and listen. Encourage children to express feelings of frustration, anger and hurt (walk it out, talk it out, or take a "time-out")
Be a role model. SHOW boys how to respect women. SHOW girls how to be assertive.
Support local Domestic Violence prevention programs, and shelters. Educate yourself on what is available in your community.
I supervise a community Domestic Violence Program at Family Services of the Desert. We have several groups for both victims of domestic violence, and male perpetrators of domestic violence and child abuse. These are people JUST like you and your neighbors. The problem crosses all socioeconomic, racial and age boundaries.
Friends often ask me, "Aren't you afraid to work with those guys?" I am afraid NOT to!
These clients are regular men (and women) without the skills to control anger, and express feelings. They are not sociopaths. Often, alcohol or drug use was a factor. Often they witnessed domestic violence in their own families while growing up. They CAN and DO break the cycle, after completing their 52 week mandated counseling program. They learn what a healthy relationship can look like. They learn to respect women as equal partners. They learn how to change manipulative, controlling behaviors and how to show respect, and empathy toward their partners and children. They learn to communicate their feelings, listen, and build (or rebuild) trust and intimacy. Victims learn to be assertive instead of passive. They learn to keep themselves and their children safe. Some marriages are "saved", and families remain together. Others lose everything that was important to them.
If you know someone in this situation (I bet you do!), let them know help is available!