Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Raising the Awareness

I've started my training at the women's shelter in Tarrant County, SafeHaven. Before I started reading and watching videos there, I did not know how prevalent domestic violence is. Here are some stats I got online:
  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • Intimate partner violence made up 20% of all nonfatal violent crime experienced by women in 2001.
  • In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
  • Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.
Under-reporting of Domestic Violence to Police
  • Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African-American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police.

  • The most common reasons for not reporting domestic violence to police are that victims view the incident as a personal or private matter, they fear retaliation from their abuser, and they do not believe that police will do anything about the incident.

  • Even with this dramatic under-reporting, domestic violence calls constitute approximately half of all violent crime calls to police departments. For example, 49% of the violent crime calls received by the DC Metropolitan Police Department in 2000 were for domestic violence incidents.
Amazing. Think about that last section about under-reporting. That means we don't know how many women are getting battered each year or month or day. But we do know that many go unreported.

So why don't they leave?

Well, that gets complicated. I'll explain more as I learn more. Often times the women do leave. The general stat is that a battered woman will leave 7 times before she actually breaks away for good. Something like 75% of women killed by their intimate partners were killed when they tried to leave.

What can we do?

Be aware! Understand that it could be anyone, any woman you know!
Understand that domestic violence is a crime!
There is a poster in the waiting room of our counseling office that says: "You wouldn't hesitate to call 911 if your neighbor's house was on fire."
The implication is: then why don't you call when you hear someone getting hurt?

Don't hide behind the excuse of "It's not my business what goes on in that house." If your daughter were getting beat up, you would want someone to call the police, right?

Teach our boys to be men who know how to handle their anger. Teach them to respect others, not control and dominate.

Teach our girls that no one can mistreat them. Teach them that love does not include manipulation, fear, and violence.

Develop churches and communities of genuine care for one other.

1 comment:

Melody said...

Wow. These stats are mind-boggling and beyond scary.

Keep "teaching" us, as you learn, so we can all be better advocates!