What is Domestic Violence? • A violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm. • Family or household members include spouses / former spouses, those in (or formerly in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage, and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship.
Impact of domestic violence • Violence is a serious public health problem in the United States. • The number of violent deaths tells only part of the story. • Many more survive violence and are left with permanent physical and emotional scars. • Violence also erodes communities by reducing productivity, decreasing property values, and disrupting social services.
Causes of Domestic Violence • An environment where violence is either taught, by example, or accepted as "normal" will imprint upon a child's psyche. • Poor self-esteem • Drug and/or alcohol abuse • More frequent where individuals experience loss of physical health and/or wage-earning power.
Symptoms of abuse • Abuse in a relationship is any act used to gain power and control over another person. • Women who are abused physically are often isolated. • Their partners tend to control their lives to a great extent as well as verbally degrade them. • Listed next are some of the examples of domestic abuse.
Examples of physical and sexual Violence • Hair pulling • Biting • Shaking • Pushing • Pinching • Choking • Kicking • Confinement • Slapping • Hitting • Punching • Using weapons • Forced intercourse • Unwanted sexual touching in public or in private • Depriving of food or sleep.
Emotional Abuse • Insulting victim in public or in private • Putting down victim friends and family • Making victim feel bad about them self • Calling victim names • Making victim think they are crazy • Playing mind games • Humiliating victim • Making victim feel guilty • Treating victim like a servant • Making all the big decisions • Being the one to define men's and women's roles.
Using Economic Abuse • Preventing victim from getting or keeping a job • Making victim ask for money • Giving victim an allowance • Taking victim money • Not letting victim know about or have access to family income • Not allowing victim a voice in important financial decisions • Demanding exclusive control over household finances.
Warning Signs someone COULD abuse • Many of the signs women are taught to Interpret as caring, attentive, and romantic are actually early warning signs for future abuse. • Some examples Include: • INTRUSION: Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc. • ISOLATION: Insists that you spend all or most of your time together, cutting you off from friends and family • POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY: Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up. • NEED FOR CONTROL: Displays extreme anger when things do not go his way; attempts to make all of your decisions. • UNKNOWN PASTS / NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN: Secretive about past relationships; refers to women with negative remarks, etc.
Warning signs someone IS abused • Injuries and excuses • Absence from work or school • Low self-esteem • Accusations of having affairs • Personality changes • Fear of conflict • Not knowing how to feel or what is wanted • Self-blame
Texas Statistics 2008 • Family Violence Incidences – 193,505 • Women killed by their partners – 136 • Adults Sheltered – 11,776 • Hotline Calls answered – 200,258 • It is estimated that 1,130,164 Texas women were battered in 2008. • More than 1,303 Texas women were killed by an intimate partner from 1998–2008.
More Statistics • 74% of all Texans have either themselves, a family member and/or a friend experienced some form of domestic violence. • Texas generates the second highest call volume to the National Domestic Violence Hotline behind California. • Nationwide, 33 percent of female homicide victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends and 2.7% of male victims were killed by their wives or girlfriends in 2004. • From the Texas Council on Family Violence
What happens to the children? • Children who are the victims or the witnesses of domestic violence often repeat those same crimes in their adult households, or go to prison for committing a crime against the abuser. • These children also contend with psychological scars that last a lifetime.
Why do people stay? • Many victims do leave, but are stalked or harassed by their ex-spouse and fear for their lives or the lives of their children. • It may also be difficult to strike out in a society where it can be hard to survive on one income. • Some of these victims do not have specific work skills and suffer from low self-confidence. • In many cases, the spouse promises to change and never do harm again. • Also, many victims are conditioned to think that they deserved the abuse and to accept it as normal. • Most of them do love their spouses on some level.
Risks of Domestic Violence • Domestic violence can lead to immediate injury, difficult pregnancies, post-traumatic stress disorder, lifelong disabilities or health problems, alcohol or drug abuse, depression and death. • Domestic violence also financially affects this country in terms of rising medical costs, police support, court fees, shelters, and the social service system.
The cycle of violence in domestic abuse • Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence: • Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss." • Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he's done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior. • Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
Cont. • "Normal" behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time. • Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he'll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality. • Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
Example – a full cycle of domestic violence • A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, "I'm sorry for hurting you." What he does not say is, "Because I might get caught." He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having cheating with someone. He tells her "If you weren't so worthless I wouldn't have to hit you." He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because "you're having an affair with the store clerk." He has just set her up.
Tips for the battered • Create a safety plan. • Choose an escape route. • Pack and hide a kit that includes spare money, clothes, keys, birth certificates, checkbook, and any other legal documents. • If possible, try to start a separate savings account. • Contact a shelter to see if they can house the family, at least temporarily. • Even those who are not victims of domestic violence can offer their volunteer support to keep these places running. • Shelters also need donations of clothing, money, food, toys and more. • Ask for information on domestic violence from the police department, family courts or local hospitals. • Reading about these crimes might make it more real, and victims may gain the courage to report what is happening.
Listen • If someone confides that they are being abused, listen with a supportive, non-judgmental ear. • Never be afraid to contact the appropriate authorities – lives can be saved. • If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.
Do’s and Don’ts • Do: • Ask if something is wrong. • Express concern. • Listen and validate. • Offer help. • Support his or her decisions. • Don’t: • Wait for him or her to come to you. • Judge or blame. • Pressure him or her. • Give advice. • Place conditions on your support.
Can teens be in violent relationships? • 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide. • 1 in 3 teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.) • More than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship (26%) report enduring repeated verbal abuse. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.)
Teen Relationshp Statistics • If trapped in an abusive relationship, 73% of teens said they would turn to a friend for help; but only 33% who have been in or known about an abusive relationship said they have told anyone about it. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.) • Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser.(Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.) • Of the women between the ages 15-19 murdered each year, 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend. (City of New York, Teen Relationship Abuse Fact Sheet, March 1998) • Less than 25% of teens say they have discussed dating violence with their parents. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study of teens 13-17 conducted by Applied Research and Consulting LLC, Spring 2000)
Cont. • Teens report dating abuse via technology is a serious problem • * 71% of teens regard boyfriends/girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cellphones and social networking sites as a serious problem. • * 68% of teens say boyfriends/girlfriends sharing private or embarrassing pictures/videos on cell phones and computers is a serious problem.Cell phone calls and texting at unimaginable frequency mean constant control day and night • * Nearly one in four teens in a relationship (24%) communicated with their partner via cellphone or texting HOURLY between midnight and 5:00am. • * One in three teens (30%) say they are text messaged 10, 20, 30 times an hour by a partner inquiring where they are, what they're doing, or who they're with. (Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; Technology & Teen Dating Abuse Survey, 2007)
Freya's Story I was 16 when I met my ex. The relationship started out great. I was completely smitten with him and felt happy but it all went so wrong. The first time he hit me was when I had got myself into a bad situation were I found myself locked in a room in a strange place with a guy I didn't know. The guy then messed with my head for the full night - holding me down and moving him hands towards certain places and so on ... but he eventually let me go. I then ran straight to my ex who then dragged me into his room and "taught me a lesson". This was the start and it just got worse from then ... It always started with the really nasty name calling and belittleling, then the threatening and then the beating which could be choking, punching, kicking and even head butting at times. Once he knocked my head around from side to side so hard I thought I was going to pass out, I felt dizzy and just for one moment I had no idea what was happening. The favorite was punching my legs and arms around the body out of sight, a couple of times he would hit my face and I'd come up with stories to cover it up to friends and family. One time I thought he was going to kill me and I took a panic attack. Thankfully I haven't had another one since then. He did sort of threaten to kill me on another occasion, he said "you're lucky I don't have a knife or I would slit your throat". I should have got out then but I didn't ... . .
I would finish it with him every time and he would cry and apologize and i would believe him. If I didn't give in he would take an over dose or try and cut his wrists I spent many nights at A&E actually worried about him!. The next day the loving period would start again fooling me into believing that he was sorry and had changed. This went on for about 2 years and when I finally got it into my head he wasn't going to change, he had driven me apart from my friends and family, I had no one apart from him. Even though I hated him I stayed with him because I felt trapped. I couldn't get out because he would try and kill himself or stalk me until I gave in. I would cry myself to sleep every night lying next to a man I hated but it was all my own fault. I eventually broke free.By the time I found out about it, it was already over but I still felt it just as bad. I completely cut him off. I changed my phone number and refused to speak to him. If I saw him I got away as soon as I could and I was never alone. I would have nightmares that I got back with him, when I woke up I would thank god it wasn't true. I do still get flashbacks. Most days I'm fine and don't really think of the past. Then something will bring back a memory and it will just flow from there, I find myself breaking down, I start shacking and can't concentrate, I cry then tell myself to get a grip. Most days I'm fine, I can go months sometimes without one of these little breakdowns. They are getting better and every day I get stronger
Getting Help • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 TTY, or • www.ndvh.org • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence • www.ncadv.org • National Sexual Violence Resource Center • www.nsvrc.org • Family Violence Prevention Fund • www.endabuse.org