Silent Plight – Part 1

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Society had taught us to smile and act as if our life was as perfect as the image that we portray when we are among our: Extended family, friends, neighbors etc. Whatever we are going through at home stay there, when we go out. It all started with the dream of finding the right partner in life, until the day you wake up finding out that, your dream partner is putting you through an actual nightmare.

WomanDomestic Violence is the name of the nightmare, unlike a normal nightmare, there is not an easy way to wake up from it. By the time you find the strength to fight yourself out of this nightmare, you then grasp that it is in fact the new reality of your life.

What is Domestic Violence, Here is its formal definition: Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional or psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence vary dramatically.

How does it start? Jealousy is the starting point of abuse; as anyone that had been in love knows the feeling of knowing that the other partner does not want anyone else getting close to you, your partner gives you the impression in your innocence that you are special and love. At the start of the relationship, an abuser will equate jealously with love. The abuser will question the victim about who the victim talks to, accuse the victim of flirting, or become jealous of time spent with others. The abuser may call the victim frequently during the day, drop by unexpectedly and refuse to let the victim work, check the car mileage, or ask friends to watch the victim. This is the act of controlling the other partner in the beginning of the relationship; but the abuser will attribute his controlling behavior to concern for the victim’s safety or decision-making skills, or any other concern that he might make up in his dangerous mind.

While we are taking care of our everyday life, routinely going through our day; statistic confirmed those facts below that will shock you to the core:

    • In the United States, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute.

    • This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.

    • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

    • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.

    • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.

    • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked. Stalking causes the target to fear she/he or someone close to her/him will be harmed or killed.

    • 1 in 4 men have been physically abused (slapped, pushed, shoved) by an intimate partner.

    • 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused (hit with a fist or hard objects, kicked, slammed against something, choked, burned, etc.) By an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

    • Nearly 1 in 10 men in the United States has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported at least one measured impact related to experiencing these or other forms of violent behavior in the relationship (e.g., being fearful, concerned for safety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, need for healthcare, injury, contacting a crisis hotline, need for housing services, need for victim’s advocate services, need for legal services, missed at least one day of work or school).

    • 1 in 18 men are severely injured by intimate partners in their lifetimes.

    • Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators. Nearly half of stalking victimizations against males were also perpetrated by males. Perpetrators of other forms of violence against males were mostly female.

    • On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.

    • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

    • Domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.

    • Domestic violence is most common among women between the ages of 18-24.

    • 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.

    • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

    • Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

    • 13.4% of male high school students report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

    • 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior (being kept track of by demanding to know his whereabouts, insulted or humiliated, or felt threatened by partner’s actions) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

    • 4 in 10 men have experienced at least one form of coercive control (isolation from friends and family, manipulation, blackmail, deprivation of liberty, threats, economic control and exploitation) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

    • Approximately 1 in 71 men in the United States reported being raped in his lifetime, which translates to almost 1.6 million men in the United States.

    • 8% of men have experienced sexual violence other than rape (forced to penetrate someone, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences) by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

One of the shocking facts of the statistic we read above is that every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. This is a disturbing fact that has one wonder about those millions of women that walk by us every day without a visible sign of abuse, they go out into the world, and they face their family and friends without a word about their abuse, why would they stay silent about their abuse? This question had been asked for years, multiples researches had been conducted on this subject, and every woman that I know and met throughout my life had a specific reason as to why they stayed silent and stayed in the relationship, some kept their silence until it was too late for them to speak, sadly I knew and love some of those women.

ThinkstockPhotos-520776874The first 4 reasons why most women that I met and know does not leave their abusing relationship are: their religion, their marriage vows, the fear of their partner killing them, and the fear that their partner would kidnaped their children. Those are the most common one and sometimes those reasons are used while there are a long list of other reasons that is being unsaid; but we will talk about most of those reasons during our series “SILENT PLIGHT”.

Their religion: many believe that the reason that caused suffering in a marriage is the fact that the woman had sinned, here is the main belief “These women just need to get right with God and everything will be fine.” Often women would accept the abuse that they are being subject as a sign that they are paying for their past sins, and once God sees fit, the abuse will stop. The abuser will tell them that they are not good enough under God’s eyes, they need to be a better wife, a better mother, help more people and always, no matter what sacrifices they are making, it will never be enough, they will always come out short of God’s good grace as the abuser will have them believe and the abuse will continue.

Their marriage vows: some Christian religion organization advised that divorce is only permitted in cases of adultery or abandonment as these are the only cases permitted in the Bible; since abuse had not been mentioned in the Bible. We have an example of a Pastor from Saddleback Church, Tom Holladay, the church’s teaching pastor that said the “Bible condones divorce for only two reasons: infidelity and abandonment. I wish there were a third reason for divorce in Scripture, having been involved as a pastor with situations of abuse,” Holladay said. “There is something in me that wishes there were a Bible verse that says, If they abuse you in this-and-such kind of way, then you have a right to leave them.’” Therefore, if the abuser does not cheat on you or abandon the family’s home, there is not a substantial reason to leave the marriage “Till death do us part”. Having been raised in a culture and a religion that is against divorce for any reasons, I understand too well the reasons why an abused wife would stay among abuse for the sake of religious beliefs and their marriage vows.

The other frightening reason is the fear of the abuser’s reaction to them speaking about their abuse or worse if they decided to leave; here are some examples of the reality that most women live with: My partner said he will hunt me down and kill me. This is in fact a reality that abuse victims know so well, statistic report that in the USA at least A third of all women murdered are killed by male partners: husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends and estranged lovers.

My partner will kidnap the children and disappear. If you don’t believe them, then here is what statistic is saying: Over 150 kids per day are abducted by a family member, most often a parent. Such cases make up 82% of all abduction scenarios. When it comes to parental abductions, the facts are very clear that the overwhelming majority of the time these children are not taken for their well-being. They are taken as a way to hurt the other parent. They are used as tools of revenge to show power and control and to inflict as much damage as possible. Those are the ultimate sacrifice that every mother will take for their children by staying in the relationship, because the fact of the matter is when those children are abducted, the abuser is just continuing his vicious circle of abuse; while under the care of the abducted parent, unfortunately with the mother being absent the abuses go against the innocent child.

By the time the plight of those women has been known some already suffered the unthinkable, and paid the ultimate price with their life, they had been silent by their abusers and they are relying on us that lived through it and are blessed to be alive to talk about it; we have to fulfill their dreams of being free and fight to put a stop to this phenomenal crime that is being committed every 9 seconds.

Abuse is a worldwide phenomenal crisis and as many women that are being abuse here in the US, so many more are being abuse throughout the world, without any government protection. This fight is an ongoing battle, but mostly a worldwide fight, we will never be free from our abusers if worldwide, abusers are continuing this madness, we will only be free when government around the world create laws that will prosecute all abusers to the full extent of the law. Those were the first 4 reasons why abused women choose to stay; there are so many more reasons, and so many other abuse victims and types of abuse; stay tuned, as we cover a few more next time on “SILENT PLIGHT”.

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