Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Sorry Baby


Domestic violence and emotional abuse are closely linked, emotional abuse often being a "gateway drug" to full blown physical violence. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, screaming, ridicule and name-calling. Constant criticism, threats, social isolation, exploitation, intimidation and stalking are also forms of emotional abuse. Statistics on emotional abuse are hard to come by, but most experts agree that the numbers far outreach those for physical abuse.
The numbers: Nationally, one in four women, regardless of class or race, is expected to experience domestic violence in her lifetime. 75% of women reporting rape stated their attacker was an intimate partner of some kind. Three women a day are murdered a day by their intimate partners.

But it doesn't take fists to to traumatize or victimize a partner. Yelling, insults, emotional blackmail, unjustified accusations, and behavioral punishment can be just as hurtful and damaging as physical violence. And emotional abuse is much harder to identify.

On average, only 21% of victims are thought to seek outside help.

Abuse victims are generally ashamed of it, in part because they have been manipulated to believe that they deserve it, but also because abusers are often good at hiding their behaviors, reserving them for home. So they don't tell anyone. But its real, and scary, and sad. And entirely preventable. Perhaps there should be a place in all our discussions of change for those changes that must begin at home. Perhaps our greater humanity is more closely tied to our treatment of those closest to us, the ones we claim to love, the ones we share our lives with, than we are willing to admit. We cry out against the treatment of our detainees, but let our friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers suffer in silence.

We will not achieve compassion on the global stage if we do not address our treatment of one another in the simple goings on of everyday life.

If you need help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-SAFE (7233)1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

Statistics Courtesy of :
Domestic Violence Resource Center P.O. Box 494 Hillsboro, OR 97123 p 503.640.5352 f 503.648.6905

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