[Content Note: Detailed discussion of domestic violence, including descriptions of what constitutes domestic violence.]
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic violence occurs within every class, age group, race, and religion. It happens in families, friendships, and intimate relationships. Intimate partner violence happens within same and different sex partnerships; it happens whether people are married, living together, or dating. Approximately one in four women has been a victim of domestic violence. Too often society--like with rape--places the blame on the victim and not the perpetrator. We need to change that.
What is it?*
Physical Abuse It isn't "only" hitting, slapping, choking, shoving. It also is using the body to intimidate. Physical abuse is also causing fear and intimidation via punching holes in walls/doors and throwing objects. It is intentionally scaring a partner by driving unsafely. It is preventing a partner from leaving their home.
Sexual Abuse When a person submits to sexual acts out of fear or coercion, it is rape. Capitulation does not equal consent. If a partner must "give in" because of fear of the consequences of saying no: that is part of sexual abuse. Remember: You always, ALWAYS, have a right to say no. Married or not. "Been a long time" or not. Always and without fear. Intimate partner reproductive coercion and birth control sabotage are aspects of sexual abuse.
Emotional Abuse It is real--not being hit or raped doesn't mean not being abused. Emotional abusers isolate their victims. Emotional abusers will use emotional blackmail, guilt, and shame to get victims to stay and may threaten suicide if they leave. They verbally assault with name-calling, mockery, public & private humiliation, and threats. They may expect their partners to ask their "permission" to do things. Emotional abusers can also be ones who constantly "know what's best" and blows up/rages if their partner doesn't submit to their "advice" (control). Economic abuse is a sub-category of emotional abuse: abusers use the finances to exert control over their partners.
Did you know? (.pdf)
* Young people age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and people age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.If you parent, work with, or otherwise have a relationship with young people: please talk to them about healthy relationships and domestic violence. If you are a parent (or otherwise similarly involved with a young person), don't just have talks about sex--have them about relationships and how to engage in healthy ones.
* Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth.
* In a national online survey, one in five tweens – age 11 to 14 – say their friends are victims of dating violence and nearly half who are in relationships know friends who are verbally abused. Two in five of the youngest tweens, ages 11 and 12, report that their friends are victims of verbal abuse in relationships.
* Nationwide, nearly one in ten high-school students (9.8 percent) has been hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
* Teens in same-sex relationships experience rates of violence and abuse similar to rates experienced by teens in heterosexual relationships. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health finds that nearly one in four teens and young adults (ages 12-21 years) in same-sex romantic or sexual relationships reported some type of partner violence victimization in the past year-and-a-half. One in ten reported experiencing physical violence by a dating partner.
* One in three teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by a partner.
If you are in an abusive situation (physical or not) you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (US & Canada): 1-800-799-SAFE or see their site (they have a great list of resources on their site, as well)
RAINN is a particular resource for those who are being sexually abused: 1.800.656.HOPE or see their site.
The Power and Control Wheel (.pdf) and the Equality Wheel (.pdf) (via)
Futures Without Violence
Know More. Say More.
*Not intended to be a comprehensive listing