One in four women are victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence can include physical, sexual, social, emotional, verbal, spiritual, and economic abuse where one partner tries to exert power and/or control over the other. Domestic violence can take many forms, including stalking, physical violence, sexual violence, and emotional abuse. To put this into perspective, nearly 20 people in the U.S experience physical abuse from an intimate partner every minute and the domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive over 20,000 calls daily.
Domestic violence affects individuals of all ages, races, genders, sexualities, religions, and socioeconomic statuses. However, according to the Domestic Violence Hotline trans women and women of color are disproportionately affected than their male counterparts.
Four out of five Native American women experience domestic violence, the highest prevalence rate among women (that is 80%). Keep in mind that domestic violence issues are also severely under reported so those are just the numbers that we know of…
Reasons for that include systemic limitations that prevent victims from reporting their abuse and seeking help. Barriers include lack of awareness that domestic violence is even a crime. Lack of cultural competency from professionals assisting victims (often times professionals that are white). Or lack of identifying community specific problems in response to violence against women and exploring solutions based on community input. This tends to affect poorer communities, who’s populations are often people of color.
According to Lee et al.’s 2002 study on intimate partner violence, domestic violence interventions were created by white women for white women. Thus, hurting the women and victims that need support and intervention the most. These hidden limitations and structures highlight how marginalized communities are at greater risk for experiencing domestic violence AND not receiving proper support for it. The system failing women of color at alarming rates is yet another reason why some don’t bother trying to get help and add to the growing underreported cases and feelings of hopelessness.
Furthermore, it is extremely important to be educated on the signs of domestic violence so that you can help others and protect yourself. Many times victims of domestic violence have a hard time understanding they are being abused due to the actions becoming their normal or being blinded by love. A few common signs of abusive behavior in a partner include:
-Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including refusing to provide money for necessary expenses or using your money without permission
-Pressure to perform sexual acts without consent or through intimidation
-Preventing or discouraging time spent with friends, family, or peers
-Insulting, demeaning, or shaming, especially in front of other people
-Threats to take away children or pets
-Destruction of your home or belongings
If you or someone you know are in need of help click here to be taken to a service that searches for the nearest health center, or find other resources for help. You are not alone.