Addressing a National Crisis: Domestic Violence
Husbands and boyfriends kill women to the tune of around 10,000 times every single year in this country. In fact, over half of all women who are murdered die at the hands of current or former partners. And physical abuse is not limited to men’s attacks on women. Both genders suffer such violence, with an estimated 10 million people experiencing it annually in the United States. While the tactics may be different among the LGBTQ+ community, they, too, suffer domestic abuse. And the abuse doesn’t always involve fists or other forms of physical violence. All too frequently, emotional, financial, and mental abuse takes its toll. Isolation, coercion, threats, and more are all aspects of domestic violence that permeate the lives of so many Americans. It can occur between spouses or dating individuals, rich and poor. Every race, every religion, every person from any background could become vulnerable to such abuse. These facts should make us all sit up a little straighter and get to work addressing the issues of domestic violence (DV).
The Myths About DV
Many seem to view domestic violence as an unusual aberration in society, suffered by women who somehow look for abuse, meted out by men who look for victims. If only women would make better decisions, they would avoid all sorts of misery. But the facts are quite different. Here’s what we know:
- Domestic violence is concretely linked to mass shootings.
- Many women who experience domestic violence end up homeless.
- Women who may appear to be making the choice to stay with an abuser are actually in the process of trying to escape an abusive situation.
- Women must often balance the risks associated with staying in an abusive relationship with the risks associated with angering an abuser.
- Charming individuals often turn out to be abusive later in a relationship.
- Red flags can be overlooked, ignored, and passed over with ease.
- The most dangerous time for a victim of DV is the time that she leaves her abuser.
- Over 50 women are shot and killed by partners every single month in this country.
- In homes where there is a firearm, women’s risk of being killed jumps up by 500 percent.
- Up until the 1990’s, there were fewer shelters for abused women than there were for animals in the United States.
What Needs to Happen to Help Women?
Laws need to change; procedures need to change—and so much more:
- Abusers need to be prosecuted without the help of the victim, as it does in murder trials.
- Restraining orders need to be kept on file after they expire.
- Clergy need to learn about DV and be trained in appropriate interventions.
- The medical community needs to be more aggressive in questioning patients and looking for signs of abuse.
- Police need training to identify signs of strangulation, which is often a prelude to murder.
- Reporting needs to be more intensive on this issue.
- Families, schools, churches and community groups must help young people understand that DV is and how to prevent it.
- Gun controls must be enacted to save lives.
If You Need Help
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, the experienced Miami domestic violence attorneys at The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos can help. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office right away.