Echoing a long-held canard that activists on these issues are just uptight, a member of the opposition suggested yesterday that we lighten up. It’s true that some pornographers, such as Hustler, think domestic violence is funny. However, in light of the facts, we don’t think “lighten up” is the right attitude. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports the following:
- 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period.
- On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.
- 92% of women say that reducing domestic violence and sexual assault should be at the top of any formal efforts taken on behalf of women today.
- 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
- 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide.
- 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.
- 37% of all women who sought care in hospital emergency rooms for violence-related injuries were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Some estimates say almost 1 million incidents of violence occur against a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend per year.
- For 30% of women who experience abuse, the first incident occurs during pregnancy.
- As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.
- 74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while they were at work.
Infoplease relates these findings from National Violence
against Women Survey, July 2000:
Domestic Violence Pervasive
According to the National Violence against Women (NVAW) survey, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, intimate partner violence is pervasive in U.S. society. Nearly 25% of surveyed women and 7.5% of surveyed men said they were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime. Stalking by intimates is more prevalent than previously thought, exceeding previous nonscientific “guesstimates” of stalking in the general population. Almost 5% of surveyed women and 0.6% of surveyed men reported being stalked by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, or date at some time in their lifetime.
Women Bear the Brunt of the Violence
Women experience more intimate partner violence than do men. The NVAW survey found that women are significantly more likely than men to report being victims of rape, physical assault, or stalking than men. Women also experience more chronic and injurious physical assaults at the hands of intimate partners…
Emotional Abuse Frequently Accompanies Physical Abuse
Violence perpetrated against women by intimates is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior. The survey found that women whose partners were jealous, controlling, or verbally abusive were significantly more likely to report being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by their partners, even when other sociodemographic and relationship characteristics were controlled. Indeed, having a verbally abusive partner was the variable most likely to predict that a woman would be victimized by an intimate partner. These findings support the theory that violence perpetrated against women by intimates is often part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control…
Domestic Violence Underreported to Police
Most intimate partner victimizations are not reported to the police. Only approximately one-fifth of all rapes, one-quarter of all physical assaults, and one-half of all stalkings perpetrated against female respondents by intimates were reported to the police. Even fewer rapes, physical assaults, and stalkings perpetrated against male respondents by intimates were reported. The majority of victims who did not report their victimization to the police thought the police would not or could not do anything on their behalf.
Added on 3/3/07: See also the National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet on Domestic Violence:
It is estimated that, regarding violent behavior toward females within the context of an intimate relationship, only 20% of all rapes, 25% of all physical assaults, and 50% of all stalking are ever reported to the police [Tjaden & Thoennes study]. Victims may be reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons. First, they may fear retaliation from their partner. They may have been directly threatened that if they tell anyone they will be killed, or they may just fear the worst. Second, there is shame associated with choosing a partner who could be violent, and there is shame associated with staying with a violent partner. Finally, some victims may have tried to seek help from the police, the courts, or others and been dissatisfied with the help they received.