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What is domestic violence?  The month of October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a time to educate the public on how pervasive the problem is, what the warning signs are, and what forms of treatment may or may not work. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is committed to helping people of all ages and from all walks of life who are being victimized by domestic violence.

WHAT DOES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVOLVE? 

Domestic violence is an intentional act of abuse. It could be physical, psychological and/or emotional. It comes in many forms including intimidation, battery, physical attack, sexual assault, and/or any other kind of behavior considered abusive. These acts of aggression are done systematically using a pattern of control and power over an intimate partner and/or others in the household, including children. It runs the gamut of emotional abuse, threats, violence of a sexual nature and physical attacks and abuse. Every family is different so there are wide variations in the frequency and the severity of the violence.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT 

Domestic violence is affecting families in epidemic numbers, even in this day and age. It happens in every type of family no matter the neighborhood they live in, their socioeconomic status, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or nationality. Violence perpetrated on intimate partners usually goes hand-in-hand with a range of controlling and emotionally abusive behaviors, which comprise just a tiny percentage of an entire pattern of deliberate and systematic controlling and domineering behavior by one person over another. The destructive consequences domestic violence affects every member of the family and lasts all their lifetimes. The after effects are even passed on generationally.

WERE YOU AWARE? 

Every single minute in the U.S. there are 20 people being victimized with physical violence perpetrated on them by someone they love, an intimate partner. This means that in any given year 10 million women and men are being terrorized by the one they love, who supposedly loves them too. When polling people it’s been found that 1 in 3 women in the U.S. have been subjected to some type of physical violence or abuse by an intimate partner during their lifetime. For men, it’s 1 in 4. When you’re talking about severe physical violence, 1 in 5 women have experienced this by their intimate partner during their lifetime. For men, the figure is 1 in 7 in the U.S.

Stalking is another form of domestic violence and is very pervasive in our society with 1 in 7 women having experienced this very frightening experience believing they or possibly someone very close to them (like their child) could be hurt or even murdered. For men, the figure is 1 in 18 report they have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

On any given day in the United States over 20,000 calls are made to domestic violence hotlines. This figure is huge but not surprising to those familiar with the problem. We can only guess how many victims never have the nerve to pick up the phone and ask for help. After studying domestic violence homicides it was determined that women were 6 times more likely to be murdered if there was a firearm in the house. In looking at all violent crimes committed in the U.S. it has been found that 15% of these crimes are the result of intimate partner violence.

Women are most vulnerable if they are 18 to 24 years old. In fact women who are being violently victimized by their intimate partners have an increased risk of contracting STIs and even HIV because of being forced into having intercourse and/or ongoing stress in their lives. Women in this situation are also more vulnerable to becoming depressed and even suicidal and this is not in the least surprising when you realize that it is estimated that half of all women in the U.S. who are in an abusive relationship do incur physical injuries at the hands of their partners.

RAPE, STALKING & HOMICIDE

In the United States the incidents of rape are huge, 1 in 5 women has or will experience rape in her lifetime and 1 in 59 men will too. 9.4% of all U.S. women have or will be raped by an intimate partner during their lifetime. The numbers for stalking are staggering with 19.3 million women in the U.S. and 5.1 million men having reported being stalked in their lifetimes. Of the women reporting being stalked, 66.2% say they are or have been stalked by their current or a former intimate partner.

Make no mistake, domestic violence, which does include stalking, affects the entire family and community at large. A research study revealed that of homicides that occurred in the context of domestic violence, 20% of the murder victims were not the intimate partner, but instead were family members, neighbors, friends, people who tried to help, first responders from law enforcement or simply innocent bystanders. In looking at murder-suicides in the U.S., 72% of these crimes involve an intimate partner and the victims are overwhelmingly women at 94%, many of them mothers.

Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods and can be very effective in treating victims of domestic violence.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.