Domestic Violence: What Is It And Why Do We Care?

 

When we think of domestic violence, we tend to think of black eyes and broken bones. What we need to recognize is that domestic violence happens on a continuum, all the way from insults and bullying to bruises and broken bones.

The purpose of this series of columns is to clarify what constitutes domestic abuse, and explore what can be done about it, and resources to assist victims of abuse.

Where does domestic abuse happen? The conventional wisdom in many communities is expressed in one answer to that question, “Well, we don’t need to worry about that. We don’t have any of that here…” This, in a nut shell, is why we should care.

In fact, domestic abuse happens in all communities—at all levels of educational and economic status, and across all genders, religions, races, ages, and nationalities, resulting in physical and psychological trauma and even death.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCAVD), every nine seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten; one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. And the list goes on. The chances are very good that each of us knows at least one individual who has been a victim of domestic abuse.

Just as violence begets violence, so, too, does abuse beget abuse. It is most often a learned behavior. Consequently, domestic violence frequently crosses generational lines and can affect countless lives.

There are economic effects as well. Again, according to the NCADV, the costs of domestic violence, including the loss of some 8 million days of paid work each year, exceed $8.3 billion annually. Many victims lose their jobs. Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by former or current partners.

Continue here.

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