Dr. Phil has been campaigning all year long to end domestic violence. The other day, he testified before Congress in hopes of protecting the Violence Against Women Act. This act funds programs vital for victims and survivors of domestic violence. It provides resources and help for this terrible threat against women, especially when that threat is immediate. It helps to keep shelters for women open, supports vouchers for emergency housing and supports women in the most dangerous time during domestic violence: A woman is more likely to be killed by her abuser shortly after she leaves him. Reauthorizing this law is so very important in the crusade to end domestic violence, but its certainly isn't enough.
Please take the time to write your representative and your senator. Tell them you support this legislation, but that more like it is needed. Almost 10,000 women are failed each day even with this law in place to help victims of abuse. Encourage your friends and family to follow suit. One in four women have been the victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Count your friends, then do the math. Almost three-quaters of the population knows someone who is or has been the victim of domestic violence.
And here's an interesting tidbit from The Domestic Violence Resource Center:
Domestic violence and children:
In a national survey of American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.
(Strauss, Murray A, Gelles, Richard J., and Smith, Christine. 1990. Physical Violence in American Families; Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers)
On average between 1993 and 2004, children under age 12 were residents of households experiencing intimate partner violence in 43% of incidents involving female victims and 25% of incidents involving male victims.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
Domestic violence damages children. It is a proven fact, which is why its called Domestic Violence and not just beating your partner emotionally, mentally, physically and financially or assault. It happens in the home many times in front of children. If not directly in front of children, they know. Children are more intuitive than we give them credit for-- they are more aware of their surroundings and their parental relationships than we think.
Here's a link to Second-hand Domestic Abuse.
Also, daughters of abused women are six times more likely to be sexually abused as girls from non-abusive families.
I also bet you didn't know that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight... BAM. It's done. And its done again. Right now, as you read this. By the time you've finished reading this post, how many women have been beaten by their partner? Even one is one too many.
I support Dr. Phil in his campaign. I support my local and state efforts to turn victims into survivors. I support the end to domestic violence. Every time we deny that it happens, every time a woman isn't honest about being abused or surviving abuse, we allow an opportunity for the violence against women to continue. Our daughters, sisters, nieces and mothers pay a high, grave price for our silence.
Wanna know that price? Here are some cold, hard facts compiled by and borrowed from The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
- On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.1
- 92% of women say that reducing domestic violence and sexual assault should be at the top of any formal efforts taken on behalf of women today.2
- 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.3
- 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide.3
- 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.4
- As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy. 5
- Violence against women costs companies $72.8 million annually due to lost productivity.6
- Ninety-four percent of the offenders in murder-suicides were male.7
- Seventy-four percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were females killed by their intimate partners.7
- Most murder-suicides with three or more victims involved a “family annihilator” — a subcategory of intimate partner murder-suicide.Family annihilators are murderers who kill not only their wives/girlfriends and children, but often other family members as well,before killing themselves.7
- Seventy-five percent of murder-suicides occurred in the home.7
1. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003.
2. Progress & Perils: New Agenda for Women, Center for the Advancement of Women. June 2003.
3. Silverman, Jay G., Raj, Anita, and Clements, Karen. “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality.” Pediatrics, August 2004.
4. Teenage Research Unlimited. Findings from study commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc. to investigate the level of and attitudes towards dating abuse among American teenagers aged 13 to 18 [online] 2005 Feb [cited 2006 Mar 20]. Available from: URL: www.loveisnotabuse.com/statistics_abuseandteens.htm5. Gazmararian JA, Petersen R, Spitz AM, Goodwin MM, Saltzman LE, Marks JS. “Violence and reproductive health; current knowledge and future research directions.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 2000; 4(2):79-84.
6. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA/
7. Violence Policy Center (VPC), American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States, April 2006.So, when I talk about breasticles, I wonder... do you really have them? If so, then speak up, be heard for your fellow women (and men, because they can be abused, too) who cannot be heard, aren't listened to, and need to focus on surviving a violent relationship instead in order to stay alive. Speak up for the children who have no voice, but suffer along side the abused, either directly or indirectly. Offer a safety net for someone who is currently a victim, without judgement. Speak the truth about domestic violence to our lawmakers. Tell them you agree with Dr. Phil and take his pledge to end the silence.
Then get a little grass roots. Donate to women's shelters. Volunteer. Give your time, lend your voice, send some soap... every little bit counts, but first let those dudes in Congress know that the VAWA needs to be reauthorized!