This month we have tackled a very difficult and painful subject – intimate partner violence/abuse. Adult domestic violence is one of the most serious public health and criminal justice issues facing society today.
• About 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• About 1 in 5 women and 1 in 12 men have experienced sexual violence by an intimate partner.
• Ten percent of women and 2 percent of men report having been stalked by an intimate partner.*
Domestic violence has no regard for socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, employment status, physical ability, age, education, marital status, or sexual orientation. In our conclusion of this series, we will address the subject of breaking the cycle of abuse, compliments of the Mayo Clinic.*
If you’re in an abusive situation, you might recognize this pattern:
• Your abuser threatens violence.
• Your abuser strikes.
• Your abuser apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts.
• The cycle repeats itself.
Typically the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time. Domestic violence can leave you depressed and anxious and even doubt your ability to take care of yourself. You might feel helpless or paralyzed.
Because men are traditionally thought to be physically stronger than women, you might be less likely to talk about or report incidents of domestic violence in your heterosexual relationship due to embarrassment or fear of ridicule. You might also worry that the significance of the abuse will be minimized because you’re a man. Similarly, a man being abused by another man might be reluctant to talk about the problem because of how it reflects on his masculinity or because it exposes his sexual orientation. Additionally, if you seek help, you might confront a shortage of resources for male victims of intimate partner violence. Health care providers and other contacts might not think to ask if your injuries were caused by domestic violence, making it harder to open up about abuse. You might also fear that if you talk to someone about the abuse, you’ll be accused of wrongdoing yourself. Remember, though, if you’re being abused, you aren’t to blame — and HELP IS AVAILABLE!
Start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it’s a friend, relative, health care provider or other close contact. At first, you might find it hard to talk about the abuse. However, you’ll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.
Beloved, records show that more victims are feeling safe enough to come forward and get help due to the numerous resources available to them. Notwithstanding, battering, violence and abuse continue at alarming rates. Remember, abuse is never okay. NEVER! Batterers abuse their partners as a way to control them. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence/abuse, seek help IMMEDIATELY. In an emergency, call 911. For additional resources contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE or 800-799-7233. The national hotline provides crisis intervention and referrals to local resources.
*Center for Disease Control/ Violence Prevention
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