An Epidemic in American Society
Ask mental healthcare experts, “What is at the top of our list when it comes to helping women improve their lives?” and they will say “ending domestic violence.” The statistics for this national epidemic will, if you excuse the expression, shake you to your bones.
Relationship abuse, a pattern of domestic violent behavior, domination and being victimized by a physically0 more powerful person can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, educational background or income level. It can be emotional abuse, which violence with words, and/or physical abuse in which a person is physically harmed.
- Every 12 seconds a woman is beaten by her partner.
- 52% of female murder victims are killed by their partners.
- More than half of Americans know some one who has been involved in a violent relationship – either as a victim or as an abuser.
- Domestic violence is the number one cause of emergency room visits b women.
- Children from violent homes ae 74% more likely to commit assault.
How You Can Help:
Talking to a person you believe is being abused is the first step to getting her help. Try not to put her on the spot. Bring it up gently, and don’t force it if she does not want to talk. Tell her the reasons you are asking, remind her that abuse is a crime, there is no acceptable excuse for it and it is not her fault. Be a friend with an open heart and open mind. Then when she is ready, she may tell you what you expected to hear. At that point, you can get the help she needs for herself and her children.
More than half the children who witness their fathers beating their mothers become batterers or victims too. Boys are more likely to become batterers. Girls frequently date or marry abusers and nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused by guys they date continue to see them.
Use this phone number to find out where to get help in your area. 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you are a victim of abuse, use this number to find out about resources that can be of help.
A Strong Woman Is Someone Who:
- Is willing and able to make decisions about her activities, her future and her family.
- Speaks her mind in a relationship.
- Refuses to do things that make her uncomfortable.
- Expects people to treat her with respect and affection even when they are angry or disappointed.
- Expects equal relationships where partners take turns giving and receiving from each other.
- Knows that destructive relationships hurt her self-esteem, as well mental and physical well-being.
- Knows that any violence is unacceptable.
The Warning Signs:
If you’re concerned that you, a family member or friend is in an abusive relationship, but you are not sure, use these 10 warning signs, plus your instinct, to make a decision.
- When your friend and her partner are together, he acts very controlling and put her down in front of others.
- He acts extremely jealous of others who pay attention to her, especially men.
- She becomes quiet when he is around and seems afraid of making him angry.
- She stops seeing her friends and family members, becoming more and more isolated.
- He controls her finances, her behavior and even with whom she socializes.
- She often cancels plans at the last minute.
- You see him violently lose his temper, striking or breaking objects.
- She often has unexplained injuries, or the explanations she offers don’t add up (sometimes you won’t see bruises, as batterers target their blows to areas that clothing covers).
- She has casually mention his violent behavior, but laughs it off as a joke.
- Her child is frequently upset, quiet or withdrawn and won’t say why.
How is your relationship? Does your partner:
- Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
- Take your money or Social Security, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
- Make all the decisions?
- Tell you you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap or hit you?
- Force you to drop charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Threaten to kill you?
*If you’ve answered yes to any of these, contact a local family violence prevention resource or call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
What You Can Do to Help Protect yourself and Your Children
- Call 911 if you are in danger or need help.
- If you are injured, go to a hospital emergency room or doctor and report what happened to you. Ask that they take photos and document your visit in writing.
- Know where you can go for help and tell someone what is happening to you. Have the phone numbers of friends, relatives, and domestic violence programs with you.
- Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them; a room with a lock or a neighbor’s house where they can go for help. Reassure hem their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
- Arrange a signal with a trustworthy neighbor (for example, if the porch light is on during the day, call the police).
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse (ripped clothes, photos of bruises and injuries, etc.)
- Keep important items with someone you trust: Spare set of keys; Money; Prescriptions; Birth certificates; Set of clothes; Driver’s License; Immunization records; Passports; Checkbook; Social Security card; Insurance papers; food stamps
- Plan the safest time to get away.
- Contact a shelter (Safe Haven) to find out about laws and other resources available to help you before you have to use them. A shelter can help you plan ways to protect yourself and your children.
Courtesy of the Family Violence Prevention Fund (San Francisco, CA) the U.S. Department of Justice, Lieberman Research Inc., 1996 and the Texas Council on Family Violence (Austin, TX) and Paula Gant Cisneros, Counselor, [email protected], 817-689-9347.
The Women’s Center
1723 Hemphill St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76110 817.869.2183
Rape Crisis and Victim Services
Betty Arvin, Attorney
Monica, Hispanic Case Manager
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY PERMISSION THROUGH ST. MICHAEL CATHOLIC CHURCH, CHRISTIAN CONNECTION.