Domestic Violence: A Follow-Up
After our October series of stories on domestic violence, we received great feedback from people who were inspired by the personal stories that we published. We also heard from people who wanted to provide additional resources for individuals in domestic violence situations and/or those who hope to help them.
The resources and content below are courtesy of one of those individuals who elected to remain anonymous.
Topics below include:
- Immediate resources
- Domestic violence and sexual assault statistics
- Helping someone you know
- Five things never to do or say to a victim
- Ten ways to help a victim
- UCCS Counseling Center (UCC) – Counseling appointments can be made by calling UCC at (719) 255-3265 or by coming to 324 Main Hall in person. Normal clinical service hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. (http://www.uccs.edu/~counsel/)
- TESSA Colorado Springs Crisis Line – (719)633-3819, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. TESSA also provides walk in advocacy during normal business hours, individual and group counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. (http://www.tessacs.org)
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) (http://www.thehotline.org)
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Statistics
- On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
- Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.
- Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of intimate partner violence (IPV) that included rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- IPV alone affects more than 12 million people each year.
- More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).
- Females ages 18 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.
- From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.
- Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.
Helping Someone You Know
It’s important to remember that victims/survivors are the best guide to their own specific situation and what will make them safer or less safe. Your own instincts or what you may think is common sense may not be the best help.
Five Things Never to Do or Say to a Victim
- Never say, “Just leave!“ This trivializes the victim’s experience and will confirm for him/her that you don’t get it. Leaving – or even threatening to leave – can frequently cause the batterer to escalate the abuse. Leaving requires careful safety planning.
- Never issue an ultimatum such as, “If you don’t leave, I won’t ….” Ultimatums only assist the batterer in isolating the victim.
- Never bad-mouth the batterer. Victims frequently are defensive and may become protective of their batterer. After all, this is a person that they chose to be with. Don’t shame the victim about that choice.
- Never disbelieve what the victim tells you or demand proof. The victim’s feelings are what matters. If she/he feels unsafe, you must respect and accept that. Fear of not being believed is one of the major factors that prevent victims from asking for help. Even one skeptical reaction can silence her/him.
- Never tell the victim what she/he “has to do.” Remember that domestic violence is about power and control. If a victim is going to heal, she/he must regain control over options, decisions, choices. As hard as it is to not do so, don’t give advice, or even say what you would do in the same situation. Use questions like, “What do you think you’d like to do?” “What would make you feel safer?” and support the victim in discovering her/his own path to safety and freedom.
Ten Ways to Help a Victim
- Open a dialog. “Are you ever afraid of ________________’s temper?”
- Show concern. “I am afraid for your (and your children’s) safety.”
- Appreciate the danger. “I am afraid the abuse will only get worse.”
- Commit to being supportive. “I will always be here for you.”
- Listen. “If you ever need to talk, I promise to just listen and not give advice.” Then you have to do just that!
- Validate. “This is not your fault and you do not deserve to be abused.”
- Compliment. Find ways to counter the effects of the verbal abuse on the victim’s self-esteem. Make them concrete and genuine.
- Observe. Make honest but non-judgmental observations about changes in the victim. “I’m worried about you. You don’t seem to laugh as much any more.”
- Offer to help. Make your offer specific and only in ways that you are capable and willing to fulfill. Don’t set yourself up for being resentful in the future. Set clear and fair boundaries around any offers to help with transportation, finances, baby-sitting, a place to stay, etc. Don’t offer it if you can’t follow through. Remember that the person who they thought had their best interests most at heart has betrayed them. Don’t repeat that.
- Ask questions. Focus on the victim’s feelings. Don’t press for decisions and don’t use sarcasm. Say, “That sounds scary. How did that make you feel?” Not “So what are you going to do about it?” or “So now are you finally going to do something?”