Dating Violence - Stop Violence Against Women - 2018 Guide

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Dating Violence – Stop Violence against Women

It is a tragic, alarming, and utterly preventable cultural reality that women suffer increased rates of violence and harassment in practically every area of life. Antiquated gender roles, predatory societal figures, and a general lack of awareness all contribute to an ugly mosaic of mistreatment of women that has become astonishingly normalized and commonplace, even in the United States of 2018. This mistreatment permeates practically every environment, from our everyday social relationships to one of the most intimate, where women are supposed to feel the safest—their romantic relationships.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in three women have been the victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, one in five have experienced rape, and on average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. What’s even more alarming is that many of these incidents go unreported and never see the light of day. Solving the systemic problem of dating violence that impacts so many women requires creating an atmosphere of transparency of incidents, heightened accountability for offenders, and support and advocacy for victims. These conditions must be cultivated in both everyday life as well as in institutional paradigms.

The Scope of the Problem: Violence against Women by the Numbers

  • The United Nations reports that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Women who experience physical or sexual abuse are more than twice as likely to have an abortion, almost twice as likely to experience depression, and in some regions, 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV and other diseases.
  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports that half of women who are the victim of global homicides are killed by an intimate partner.
  • Data from the United States Department of Justice indicates that intimate-partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime in the United States.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress.
  • Data from the Association of American Universities reveals that 23 percent of female undergraduate university students reported having experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct.
  • The CDC reports that intimate-partner violence is most prevalent in adolescence and young adulthood and starts to decline with age, demonstrating the need for early intervention.
  • Intimate-partner violence is linked to higher rates of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
  • Victims of intimate-partner violence are also more likely to develop substance use issues like alcoholism, drug addiction and tobacco use.
  • A little more than a third of women who experience intimate-partner violence actually receive medical care for their injuries.

These figures represent the unflinching reality that dating violence is a global epidemic, affecting not just the United States but the world community at large.

What Drives Dating Violence?

There are multiple issues at play within toxic relationship dynamics that contribute to dating violence. These issues can include both external factors like substance use and mental illness, as well as deeply entrenched personal factors that can lead to crippling fear, codependency, and lack of self-worth. Perpetrators of dating and intimate-partner violence often weaponize fear dynamics and low self-esteem of victims to establish, maintain, and assert control within the relationship. Any deviation from these toxic and dysfunctional power dynamics is met with physical assault that helps the offender maintain dominance and reinforce the the victim’s perception that they deserve their abuse.

It’s important to realize that there is no circumstance, other than extreme examples of self-defense, under which physical violence against an intimate partner is normal, acceptable, warranted, or justified. No action that you take is provocation for physical or sexual assault. It’s also important to realize that there is more than one type of relationship-based violence. Verbal and economic abuse can be just as harmful and dis-empowering as physical assault. These types of abuse often occur alongside physical abuse and are another way for perpetrators to keep victims in their control. These cycles often last for years and even lifetimes.

Sustaining Factors of Dating Violence

One of the most crippling roadblocks to proactive domestic violence intervention is the stigma, judgment, and scrutiny that victims often face. They commonly hear questions like:

"Well, why don’t you just leave?

"How can you stay in a situation like that?"

Some of the primary factors that keep women trapped inside of abusive relationships include:

Financial Insecurity

Women are routinely trapped in situations in which their financial security is intertwined with their partner’s. In these situations, to flee an abusive relationship means practically starting life over with limited to no financial resources. Some are forced to decide between losing their financial stability and trying to navigate and “manage” the cycles of abuse.

Children

Whether it’s fear for children’s safety or fear of never being able to see them again if a woman decides to leave, the victim’s exit strategies can very often be complicated by the presence of children in an abusive relationship. Often a woman will have to choose between keeping her children safe and happy and securing her own personal safety and independence. It’s important to realize that children who grow up in abusive family dynamics are at heightened risk for long-term mental health issues.

Lack of self-worth

Many victims of intimate-partner violence have been conditioned to believe that they deserve the abuse they sustain. These harmful and deeply misguided beliefs prompt a sort of codependency in which they feel as though they’re only complete if they’re keeping their partner happy—at all costs. Perpetrators of intimate-partner violence have a way of pinpointing and exploiting emotionally vulnerable people; however, these dynamics can also start and strengthen in relationships as time goes on.

Shame and stigma

Many victims of intimate-partner violence are legitimately ashamed of their abusive relationship. They feel that, even though they’re strong, independent people in other aspects of their lives, they have abdicated their power and personal autonomy for the sake of maintaining a relationship. This fear of judgment stops them from coming forward and getting the help they need.

Accessing Help for Dating and Intimate-Partner Violence

There are more resources than ever to help women safely and effectively extricate themselves from an abusive dating dynamic. The domestic Violence Hotline is a proven and effective resource for women who need to escape immediately and who have little to no resources to live independently. There are also more and more state-sponsored resources for domestic abuse survivors to start over and cultivate a safe and healthy life for themselves and their children. If these are the circumstances you find yourself in, the most important thing is to recognize your situation and understand that it’s not your fault. Rather than retreat, self-medicate, or try to manage the abuse you’re sustaining, let someone help you reclaim your safety, health, and dignity.

Start the process of asking for help by telling a trusted friend, family member, or experienced professional what you’re going through. From there, you can have assistance creating a game plan to gradually start removing yourself from the abusive dynamic in which you find yourself trapped. Declare your independence today.

State Resources For Domestic Violence

State Resources
Alabama Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence Montgomery, AL
Alaska Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Juneau, AK
Arizona Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV) Phoenix, AZ Sexual Violence Prevention & Education Program Tucson, AZ
Arkansas Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence Little Rock, AR Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault Fayetteville, AR
California California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Sacramento, CA California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Sacramento, CA
Colorado Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault Denver, CO Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) Denver, CO
Connecticut Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. (CONNSACS) East Hartford, CT Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) East Hartford, CT
Delaware Delaware Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) Wilmington, DE ContactLifeline, Inc. Wilmington, DE Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence Wilmington, DE
District of Columbia District of Columbia Coalition Against Domestic Violence Washington, DC D.C. Rape Crisis Center Washington, DC
Florida Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) Tallahassee, FL Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Tallahassee, FL
Georgia Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence Decatur, GA Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault Atlanta, GA
Hawaii Sex Abuse Treatment Center Honolulu, HI
Idaho Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Boise, ID
Illinois Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) Springfield, IL Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence Springfield, IL
Indiana Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Indianapolis, IN
Iowa Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (Iowa CASA) Des Moines, IA Rape Victim Advocacy Program (Iowa) Iowa City, IA Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence Des Moines, IA
Kansas Kansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Topeka, KS
Kentucky Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs Frankfort, KY The Center for Women and Families Louisville, KY
Louisiana Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault Hammond , LA Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Baton Rouge, LA
Maine Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault Augusta, ME Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence Augusta, ME Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center Winthrop, ME
Maryland Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence Bowie, MD Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. Arnold, MD
Massachusetts Jane Doe, Inc. - Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Boston, MA Abby's House Worchester , MA
Michigan Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Okemos, MI
Minnesota Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault St. Paul, MN Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women St. Paul, MN Rape and Sexual Abuse Center Minneapolis, MN
Mississippi Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence Jackson, MS Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault Jackson, MS
Missouri Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Jefferson City, MO
Montana Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Helena, MT
Nebraska Nebraska Coalition to end Sexual and Domestic Violence Lincoln, NE
Nevada Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence Reno, NV
New Hampshire Women's Information Service (WISE) Lebanon, NH New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Concord, NH Starting Point: Services for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Conway, NH
New Jersey New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault Trenton, NJ
New Mexico New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence Albuquerque, NM New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs Albuquerque , NM
New York New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault Albany, NY NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault New York, NY New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Albany, NY
North Carolina North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence Durham, NC North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault Raleigh, NC
North Dakota North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services/Coalition Against Sexual Asault Bismarck, ND
Ohio Ohio Domestic Violence Network Columbus, OH ACTION OHIO Coalition for Battered Women Columbus, OH Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence Columbus, OH
Oklahoma Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Oklahoma City, OK
Oregon Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Portland, OR
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence Harrisburg, PA Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape Enola, PA
Puerto Rico Oficina de la Procuradora de las Mujeres San Juan, PR Puerto Rico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer, Inc/Coalición Puertorriqueña contra la Violencia Doméstica y la Agresión Sexual) San Juan, PR
Rhode Island Day One Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center Providence, RI Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Warwick, RI
South Carolina South Carolina Coalition Ending Domestic & Sexual Violence Columbia, SC
South Dakota South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pierre, SD South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault Sioux Falls, SD
Tennessee Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Nashville, TN
Texas Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Austin, TX Texas Council On Family Violence Austin, TX
Utah Utah Domestic Violence Council Salt Lake City, UT Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault Salt Lake City, UT
Vermont Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Montpelier, VT
Virgin Islands Women's Coalition of St. Croix Christiansted, VI
Virginia Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance Richmond, VA
Washington Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Seattle, WA Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs Olympia, WA
West Virginia West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services, Inc. (WV FRIS) Fairmont, WV West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence Elkview, WV
Wisconsin End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin Madison, WI
Wyoming Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Laramie, WY
Resources:

Guide Brought To You By: Safe Harbor Treatment Center - Addiction Treatment For Women California

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