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Published On: Wed, Jul 1st, 2015

Domestic Violence an Understated Issue Nationwide

Did you know that in the United States, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, and stalking by an intimate partner? This data, which comes from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, is made even more horrible by other figures:

  • Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and stalking by an intimate partner
  • Nearly half of men and women have been victims of psychological aggression by their partner

Domestic violence is a widely known concept and yet is still not talked about much, even though it happens all over the country – all the time.

According to the DomesticViolence.org:

“Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.”

So, while some individuals may not be physically harmed (yet), ‘lesser’ forms of abuse can lead to criminal violence.

These definitions and numbers put together are enough to make one want to delve deeper into the issue.

But this isn’t all just about numbers. There are various serious effects on the victims, even if the violent acts may not be that ‘bad’. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence highlights two things: economic impact and physical/mental impact.

Rolling Stone rape on campus UVA bogus storyThe economic impact is based on money lost due to the inability to go to work for days, or even losing their jobs.

The physical/mental impact is worse, with specific problems such as higher risk of contracting HIV and STIs due to forced intercourse, severe physical injury, depression, and suicide.

A perfect example is Kerri Walker, who was in an abusive relationship, who was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). She didn’t press charges either. And she’s not alone.

Famous athletes have been accused (and convicted) of domestic violence. Even cops! In fact, a report published very recently reveals that the NYPD has been told to crack down on their officers:

“The Commission to Combat Police Corruption reviewed police-involved domestic violence cases from 2013, and found that harsher punishments were deserved in seven of 88 of them.”

What about their partners who were the victims?

There are many reasons why people stay in an abusive relationship, ranging from fear of the unknown (leaving what she or he is used to) to keeping the family together if there are children. Recently, Beverly Gooden started a hashtag on Twitter, #WhyIStayed, and so many people chimed in that it went viral.

This, as Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Daniel Gibalevich emphasizes, is compelling evidence that abused partners should come out and take things to the legal system. Indeed, what’s different about a partner hitting the other or throwing dinnerware from a stranger hitting assaulting another person on the street?

However, the stigma of being in an abusive relationship is still present, and this is one of the reasons people stay and not make their situation public by pressing charges.

There is something – a lot of things – that can be done to change this. Victims of domestic abuse may not be able to get themselves out of the world they know without help, either from private organizations or the government.

On the positive side, Beverly Gooden’s initiative has raised the awareness and has put the spotlight on domestic abuse. Some may think it’s ‘only’ social media, but these days, it is one of the most effective venues to get people moving.

Domestic violence is real. It happens right under our noses, and it shouldn’t be ignored just because it’s ‘none of our business’. Everyone – from the government to you and I – should play a part in stopping this horrible situation. Even if it means sticking your nose in your neighbor’s business.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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