Domestic violence is an issue that splits families and can negatively influence children, affecting generations to come. Women and children involved in domestic violence should be taken care of - they need to know that there are resources available to help.
The facts on domestic violence are eye-opening:
- 1 in 4 women will know domestic violence in her lifetime
- 1 in 3 teenage girls will be physically assaulted by a boyfriend
- Domestic violence is the leading predictor of child abuse
- Boys who witness domestic violence in their homes are 1,500 times more likely to perpetrate abuse later in life
- 50% of girls growing up in an abusive home will go on to be victims of abuse themselves
The Dallas Police Department receives 20,000 calls regarding domestic violence each year. Even though it is a horrible epidemic, it is completely preventable - with education and and awareness.
Recognizing Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence occurs when one person in an intimate relationship exercises power and control over the other through a pattern of intentional behaviors, including psychological, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. There is no way to define a “typical” victim of domestic violence-–it can affect anyone from any socioeconomic, demographic, geographic, or educational background. The greatest risk factor for victimization is simply being a woman.
While most people are able to recognize an abusive relationship when it involves physical violence, relationships involving psychological or emotional abuse are more subtle, but no less destructive. If allowed to continue, these behaviors can escalate to include more physically dangerous abuse over time. It is important to recognize key characteristics of domestic violence so that abuse can be stopped before it becomes life threatening.
Helping A Friend
If you think your friend is in a violent relationship, but you aren't sure--go with your instincts. You probably wouldn't be concerned without reason. Follow these tips and talk with your friend. Remember that our advocates answer our hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (214) 946-HELP (4357).
When you know someone in an abusive relationship: What Can You Do?
- Listen without judging. She may feel responsible, ashamed, inadequate, and afraid.
- Tell her that it is NOT her fault.
- Make sure she knows she is not alone.
- Explain that relationship abuse is a crime. She can seek protection from the police, courts, and domestic violence programs.
- Suggest she develop a safety plan. A safety plan is helpful in case of an emergency. Keep money, important documents, a change of clothes, and an extra set of keys in a safe place, such as with a friend or neighbor.
- Think of ways you can help. If she decides to leave, she may need money, assistance finding a place to live, a place to store her belongings, or help finding a safe home for her pets.
- Contact our 24-hour hotline at (214) 946-HELP. If you need advice on how to help your friend in an abusive relationship, Genesis Women's Shelter & Support can help. We offer counseling for friends and relatives of victims of abuse.
In many cases, she fears for her life. She may want her children to grow up with both parents, or feel guilty believing that the abuse is her fault. Sometimes a victim's self-esteem is so damaged by the abuse that she thinks she can't make it on her own. Or, she may just want the violence to end, not the relationship.
*all information taking courtesy of genesisshelter.org
Genesis Women's Shelter
"To end the epidemic of domestic violence against women and children by stopping individual victimization and reducing the devastating impact of family violence through safety, shelter and expert services to battered women and their children. We are committed to preventing violence by raising the level of community awareness regarding the pervasiveness and effects of domestic violence."
The Genesis Women's Shelter is an organization based in Dallas committed to battling domestic violence. They provide help and resources such as emergency shelters, counseling centers, on-site schooling, parenting classes, legal services, and domestic violence education. For more information on the Genesis Women's Shelter, please click here.