Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Startling Statistics

I can't decide if I need to stop watching Oprah's show, or start watching it more. I learned something very startling today. The show was all about domestic violence. I am fortunate not to have been touched directly (as far as I know of) by domestic violence. But, the statistics are simply staggering. When you see the numbers it will hopefully cause the same reaction in you that it caused in me - slight stress and lots of concern. If not, if you have become used to hearing statistics like this, consider then, that it's kind of scary that it has either fallen off the radar or become so commonplace that it no longer concerns you.

Anyway, Oprah mentioned a few numbers that made me go right in and look the facts up. She mentioned that the Department of Justice estimated that 10 million kids see their moms abused each year. She also said that battered women GO BACK TO THEIR ABUSERS an average of SEVEN times. SEVEN - wow. Again - very startling. So, I clicked around and found the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They are an organization that educates, guides, and even empowers those who are abused. But, they also help out the rest of us to recognize what abuse is, how to help those being abused, and even how to tell is we are abusers. I know that this is just one resource, but I had to start somewhere. I just wanted to share this info with you for now. More might come later, but for now you can peek at this info and see if you feel moved to do more.

Here are the statistics right from the National Domestic Violence Hotline site:

  • 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period. 1
  • On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.2

  • 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.3

  • 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.4

  • 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.4

  • 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.5

  • Women of all races are equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.6

  • 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.7

  • Some estimates say almost 1 million incidents of violence occur against a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend per year. 8

  • For 30% of women who experience abuse, the first incident occurs during pregnancy.9

  • As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy. 10

  • Violence against women costs companies $72.8 million annually due to lost productivity.11

  • 74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while they were at work.12

  • Ninety-four percent of the offenders in murder-suicides were male.13

  • Seventy-four percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner(spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were females killed by their intimate partners.13

  • Most murder-suicides with three or more victims involved a "family annihilator" -- a subcategory of intimate partner murder-suicide.Family annihilators are murderers who kill not only their wives/girlfriends and children, but often other family members as well,before killing themselves.13

  • Seventy-five percent of murder-suicides occurred in the home.13

1. Issues and Dilemmas in Family Violence: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 1996.

2. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003.

3. Progress & Perils: New Agenda for Women, Center for the Advancement of Women. June 2003.

4. Silverman, Jay G., Raj, Anita, and Clements, Karen. “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality.” Pediatrics, August 2004.

5. Teenage Research Unlimited. Findings from study commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc. to investigate the level of and attitudes towards dating abuse among American teenagers aged 13 to 18 [online] 2005 Feb [cited 2006 Mar 20]. Available from: URL:

6. US. Department of Justice, Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments, August 1997.

7. US Department of Justice.

8. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, May 1999.

9. Helton et al 1987.

10. Gazmararian JA, Petersen R, Spitz AM, Goodwin MM, Saltzman LE, Marks JS. “Violence and reproductive health; current knowledge and future research directions.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 2000; 4(2):79-84.

11. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Center for disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA/

12. Family Violence Prevention Fund. 1998. The Workplace Guide for Employer, Unions, and Advocates, San Francisco, CA.

13. Violence Policy Center (VPC), American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States, April 2006.

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