October 2009 has been designated National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic Violence still remains one of those dirty little secrets no one wants to talk about. But the fact is, it happens.
Violence or abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional and/or financial.
Murders make headlines in papers and lead stories on the news, but the domestic abuse is more than murder. In fact, that is what makes it so frightening. It can sneak up on you.
I didn’t see it coming. The abuse started with mind games. I was wrong about almost everything. I was constantly criticized. After a while, I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.
I did not experience a lot of physical abuse, but the threat loomed large and unspoken. The emotional abuse and humiliation took a toll on my self confidence, which fed into the cycle of abuse. The first time I was hit, I was stunned. I didn’t know what to think. By then, I was beat up mentally.
When I finally had the courage to leave, I was lucky to have family and friends who supported me.
Unfortunately, we seem to have a culture that still accepts domestic violence as normal.
Consider these facts:
• 90-95 percent of domestic abuse victims are women.
• On average more than three women are murdered my their husbands or boyfriends everyday in the U.S.
• In eight states, being a victim of domestic violence is considered a “pre-existing condition” and therefore a reason for insurance companies to charge a higher premium or deny coverage.
• Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend.
• Fathers who batter mothers are two times as likely to seek sole custody of their children. 40 to 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children.
To get help or give help, please contact the Committee Against Domestic Assault (CADA) at any of the following numbers: Crisis Line 1-800-477-0466; 24 Hours (507) 625-3966; Minnesota Relay 711; Business (507) 625-8688. Or contact the Le Sueur/Sibley County Victims Services at 507-237-5977.