Abuse often happens in the shadows. Education and awareness shine a light on this devastating issue. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – a cause near and dear to our hearts. Learn more about abuse in America, how to recognize abuse when it’s happening, and how YOU can make a difference.
Domestic Violence in America
National campaigns like Domestic Violence Awareness Month have brought attention to abuse in America. But abuse and domestic violence, including intimate partner violence, remains a pervasive issue. According to the most recent data:
- 20 people every minute are physically abused in this country – a total of more than 10 million people every year.
- More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience intimate partner violence, rape, or stalking in their lifetime.
- Nearly half of all women and men (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively) have experienced psychological aggression from an intimate partner.
- Approximately 4 in 5 domestic abuse victims are female.
- Children witnessed incidences of violence in 22% of all cases.
- 9.4% of teenagers report experiencing physical abuse from a partner in the past 12 months.
- Those who experience domestic abuse are at increased risk of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
While those statistics are staggering, it’s worth noting that domestic abuse is often difficult to identify, especially by outsiders. One study found that over 90% of abusers have no criminal record and are law-abiding citizens outside the home. Most abusers would never be identified as such by their friends, co-workers, or non-immediate family members.
Abuse often happens in secret. The abusers use power and control to keep their victims silent. And abuse victims often stay silent because they are afraid, have shame about the abuse, and feel like they have no other options.
Domestic abuse happens everywhere, regardless of age, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
Signs of Abuse
Because abuse is difficult to recognize, it’s crucial for everyone to know the warning signs. Abusers are almost always possessive and controlling, attempting to use fear, intimidation, or coercion to gain power over their victims. They will often minimize or deny the abusive behavior.
Common warning signs of abuse include:
- Extreme jealousy
- Embarrassing the partner in front of others
- Keeping the partner away from friends and family
- Controlling the finances/using money as a way to control the partner’s behavior
- Pressuring the partner into sexual acts with which they are uncomfortable
- Threatening to take away or harm children or pets
- Telling the victim she can’t ever do anything right
- Physical, verbal, or emotional intimidation
- Making threats or violence
- Not allowing the victim to attend work or school
- Unfounded accusations of infidelity, flirting, or other actions
- Constant phone calls or texts
Victims of the abuse will often make excuses for the abuser’s behavior or deny abuse is happening.
Prevention and Education
The best way to stop domestic violence is to prevent it before it starts. Education and prevention programs are integral to stopping the cycle of violence. Addressing healthy and unhealthy dating behaviors with older children and teens is just one way to open a dialogue and raise awareness about abusive behaviors.
Obviously, prevention isn’t always possible. That’s why educating people of all ages about domestic violence is also important. Learning about the signs, prevalence, and resources can help identify victims and help them leave abusive environments.
There are domestic violence prevention and education organizations all across the country, from nationally-recognized nonprofits to small, local community shelters. Each and every one of them is making an impact in the lives of children, teens, and adults impacted by domestic abuse.
Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention: Our Why
At WodBottom, we aim to raise awareness about domestic abuse and support survivors through education and financial support. Emily, WodBottom’s co-founder, grew up in an abusive home and witnessed violence against her mother (read her story here). It left an impression that has grown into a lifelong passion for empowering women.
In addition to raising awareness among our customers, WodBottom donates a portion of our proceeds to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). The organization supports women and children survivors by providing shelter, resources, and prevention services in Dane County, Wisconsin.
We are incredibly proud to partner with DAIS and support their work.
What YOU Can Do to Support Survivors
Everyone can be an advocate for change – and you’ve already started. Even if you’ve never been involved in domestic violence awareness or advocacy before, you’re here, reading this blog and educating yourself about abuse.
Because you understand the signs of domestic violence and know the statistics, you can share information with friends and family. You can start the conversation. And you never know when that conversation will be exactly what someone needs to admit abuse and ask for help.
You can also support survivors and raise awareness about domestic abuse by donating your time or monetary resources to your local women’s shelter or other domestic violence prevention organizations. Find a list of local shelters here or donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Finally, we ask that you consider partnering with our local nonprofit, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) through their website. You can also support DAIS by purchasing from our site. A portion of every sale goes directly to DAIS to help support survivors and prevent abuse in future generations.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, reach out for help. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat at thehotline.org.