Domestic Violence Awareness Month began in the 1980’s as advocates sought to work together to bring greater attention to the issues. You can visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for more information. http://www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth.php. The site has a listing of names of those killed by an intimate partner, ‘Remember My Name’.
According to the Ohio Courts, there were 74,842 total domestic violence calls in 2011. There were 37 victim and 18 offender fatalities. In 2010, the total number served came to 119,013 out of which 18,807 were children. The number of referrals for additional assistance was 75,815 with 7,406 medical, and 17,653 psychological referrals; 3,852 children were sheltered, and 22,734 domestic violence civil protection orders were issued.
The Ohio Domestic Violence Network website says, ‘A home that is characterized by physical, emotional, sexual or property abuse is frightening, debilitating, and an unhealthy place. Children who live with such a home are unable to be children. Psychologist Ruth Olsen says all children are affected. The signs may be different based on how children interpret the experience of witnessing the violence.’
Those who experience abuse may feel ashamed or guilty, responsible for the violence, or afraid. They might feel a sense of powerlessness or uncertainty, isolation, depression or anger. Intense emotion often manifests in different behavior- from withdrawal to excessive participation in activities to avoid the environment, bullying, bedwetting, nightmares, abusive activity, distortions in thinking, low self-esteem, or even self-injury. Increasingly attention has turned to dating violence in the teen population. http://www.odvn.org/information-for-survivors/children-and-teens.html
The Ohio Domestic Violence Network reports that “1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.” How is teen relationship violence defined? The site is very specific about what emotional abuse is- ‘putting you down, threatening you (or others); physical abuse, or sexual abuse-making you have contact you don’t want to have.’ For more information, see:
There is a statistical correlation between those experiencing domestic violence, and higher rates of mental and behavioral illness. According to Erna Olafson, PhD, PsyD, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who was the keynote speaker at the recent OACCA Conference on October 2nd, ‘Trauma affects the developing body and brain. There can be IQ deficits of 4-12 pts, neuro-endocrine abnormalities, and 10% smaller brains. Trauma intensity affects intelligence and even life expectancy.” She cited a Kaiser Permanente study on the Level of Domestic Violence and Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Health Status. Fortunately, the ‘Neuro-biologic effects of child maltreatment are reversible.’
[Photo Credit: Prevent Domestic Violence-U.S. Navy Communications Dept. uploaded to Wikimedia Commons; released into public domain, permissions granted]