Domestic Abuse: A Very Real Global Pandemic
Updated: Jun 6
COVID brought the world to it's knees, but there's been a far more lethal and damaging disease that's not received even a fraction of the same media attention or funding, and the "justice system"...needs a lot of work.
As of 6/5/2020 here's the score for the two pandemics in the US this year:
COVID: just under 2,000,000 cases
DOMESTIC ABUSE: 6,000,000 cases
According to the Centers for Disease Control in the US, "The term 'intimate partner violence' describes physical and sexual violence, stalking, threat and psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse."
Domestic abuse includes rape, assault, battery, burning, strangling, credible threats of harm, intimidation, other psychological abuse, abandonment, neglect, and more.
The NYPD responds to approximately 230,000 domestic incidents annually, or 630 each day. Those are the ones that safely get through.
On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide in the US for non-acute situations. That's more than 7 million a year, and there are many who can't call for help or are too afraid to.
According to the World Health Organization, violence against women and children (particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence) is a major global public health problem in addition to being a blatant violation of human rights. Gender inequality and norms on the acceptability of violence are a root cause.
Global estimates indicate 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, and as many as 38% of murders of all women are committed by a male intimate partner.
Violence can negatively affect a human being's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and reproductive health. Long term studies reveal that children who witness it are equally as effected as if they were on the receiving end, and with and average of 2 children per couple, that means there are even more children being abused, and because they have no say in things, their cries are heard even less than their mother's by systems in grave need of reform.
The UN Women's Group calls it the "shadow pandemic," because in the majority of countries with available data, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence feel safe seeking help, so most look to family and friends rather than formal institutions such as health services. Less than 10% go to the police.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed (murdered) globally in 2017, 58 per cent (50,000) were killed by intimate partners or family members. That translates to 137 women in this world killed by a member of their own family every day.
At least 144 countries have passed laws on domestic violence, and 154 have laws for sexual harassment, but most are not complied with or properly enforced.
Children who witnessed their fathers being violent towards their mothers, and men who experienced some form of violence at home as children were significantly more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence as adults, making this a generational cycle in need of intervention and preventative education.
According the the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. That's more than 10 million women and men annually, and it doesn't even begin to address the damage of mental/emotional abuse that happens.
More than 60% of domestic assaults are not reported. In instances of sexual assault, less than 30% are tried in a court of law, and less than 3% of those result in punishment.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical, sexual violence, and intimate partner stalking resulting in the need for a menu of victim services for significant bodily injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner (Data isn't unavailable for male victims).
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner to the point they feared for their own safety or someone close to them, and believed they would be harmed or killed.
The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of femicide by 500%. Nearly 50% of all women who are murdered die at the hands of their partners. According to one estimate, a woman is fatally shot by her boyfriend, husband, or ex every 16 hours.
Only 5 percent of men suffer the same fate.
There is a well-documented bias against women [in these cases].” Rita Smith, the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence asserts that, “Most battered women who kill in self-defense end up in prison.
Nearly 60% of people in women’s prison nation-wide, and as many as 94% of some women’s prison populations, have a history of physical or sexual abuse before being incarcerated.
A study of women incarcerated in New York’s Rikers Island found that most of the domestic violence survivors interviewed reported engaging in illegal activity in response to experiences of abuse, the threat of violence, or coercion by a male partner.
Another study found that, of 525 abused women at a mental health center who had committed at least one crime, nearly half had been coerced into committing crimes by their batterers as “part of a structural sequence of actions in a climate of terror and diminished, violated sense of self.” (aka significant repeated abuse, intimidation, and threats of harm to themselves and their children if they do not comply)