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Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence - The use of physical, sexual, economic, and/or emotional abuse by one person in an intimate relationship in order to establish and maintain power and control over the other person.

 

The cycle of abuse

Who is the Victim?
There is no typical profile of domestic violence victims other than that they are usually female. Young, old, black, white, single, married, professional, unemployed, rich, poor...all may be potential victims of domestic violence.

Children are also victims-even if they are not physically abused themselves. When children witness violence between their parents, they may learn violence as a way of life and later become involved in abusive relationships.

In addition, violence in the home causes emotional suffering and many, many corresponding problems.

Who is the Abuser?
Similarly, there is no profile of domestic abusers, other than that they are usually male. Like the victim, they may come from any walk of life. To outsiders, they may appear to be a good provider, a warm and loving parent, and a law abiding citizen. Never the less, they frequently have a low opinion of themselves.

They may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the abuse, and later claim; "I was drunk." or "I didn't know what I was doing." or "It just happened." They may in fact, believe that the abuse was justified. In any case...the assaults will continue.


  What makes abusers so powerful?

  • Isolation of victim
  • Societal denial
  • Use of religious issues
  • Use of cultural issues
  • Threats of retaliation


  Characteristics of batterers

  • Sense of entitlement
  • Controlling
  • Manipulative
  • Frequently charming
  • Uninvolved parent
  • Show contempt for others

If there's violence in the home the kids get the pictureThe Children
Perpetrators of domestic violence traumatize children:
     Physical injuries—intentional and unintentional
     Psychological injuries—witnessing violence

In 85% of police calls for domestic violence, children had witnessed the violence.

Witnessing parental violence is a risk factor for:
     Males-to physically abuse
     Females-to become victims of abuse

Statistics

  • 85% - 95% of all domestic violence victims are female.
      
  • An estimated 5.3 million cases of domestic violence occur among U.S. women 18 and older each year, resulting in nearly 2 million injuries.
      
  • On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the U.S. every day.
      
  • In a survey by the US Conferences of Mayors, 56% of cities surveyed cited domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.
      
  • 50% to 70% of men who abuse women also abuse children.
      
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own partners than sons of nonviolent parents.
  • As many as 324,000 women each year experience domestic violence during their pregnancy.
      
  • 1,232 women each year are killed by an intimate partner.
      
  • Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55% and 95% of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters or the police for help.
      
  • The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
      
  • Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

Domestic Violence Myths

Society has built a system of myths around the reality that literally thousands of women and men are being abused in their homes physically, psychologically, and sexually. This system of myths is keeping women and men trapped in terror and perpetuating the problem from generation to generation.

  • It is a myth that victims who stay in violent relationships stay because they are masochistic and encourage the violence.
     
  • It is a myth that most battered women are frustrated housewives who provoke their husbands into beating them.
     
  • It is especially a myth that a victim can simply walk out of a situation in which they are being beaten and start a new life.

There are also myths that surround the batterers; the belief that the man is usually unemployed, uneducated, frustrated, and alcoholic or “lower class.” Doctors, lawyers, executives beat their wives and children with as much frequency. Alcohol is not the cause but as some batterers have stated, the thing that gives them the “courage” to do it.

The real tragedy of these myths is that they are not just misconceptions of the general public but are shared by the very people and institutions who deal with the problem; police, judges, therapists, clergy, doctors, men who beat women and sadly women who are beaten.

Our purpose then is to provide a shelter for victims that are free of these myths. It is a place where their immediate needs will be met: food and shelter. Advocacy is also provided to assure that those services and institutions designed to serve them do so in a way that deals with the realities of their situations rather than the myths.

Shelter: (605) 996-2765  •  Hotline: (605) 996-4440  •  Visitation Center: 605-996-8880

Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center
1809 North Wisconsin, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301