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What Is The Big Deal About Domestic Violence?

Okay already, we give in! We wanted the dust to settle before we weighed in about domestic violence and all the furor surrounding the NFL and domestic abuse. It’s not that we find it a little bit hypocritical that all of a sudden domestic violence is this big issue thanks to Ray Rice and others. It is almost like this is the first time this awful atrocity has occurred.

Please don’t misunderstand, we are happy that this long ignored criminal activity is finally seeing the light of day. We just ask ‘where have you been all this time’?

Domestic violence has been going on since the dawn of time. We have been writing about domestic violence on a regular basis for over a decade.

What Is Domestic Violence Or Abuse?

The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.

They go on to say that domestic violence can happen to anyone without regard to religion, gender, age, race or sexual orientation. Back 10 years ago we called it an “equal opportunity destroyer of lives” because domestic violence influences people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

It affects not only the people who are abused but their family, extended family, friends, coworkers and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime.

The cost in lost days at work due to domestic violence are substantial. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence tells us that the national healthcare costs absorbed by employers approaches $4.1 billion.

How Bad Is It?

It is the number one cause of injury to women.

It has been estimated that one in four women in the United States report intimate partner violence. Worldwide that number is one in three. Domestic homicide and suicide often tied to abuse are the number one and number two causes of women’s death during pregnancy in the United States.

There is a one in three chance that a girl of high school age will experience violence in a dating relationship. If a woman is homeless, the chances go up substantially. If she is homeless with children, the chances go up even more that she will be physically abused.

According to police statistics the average number of times an abuser hits a spouse before she makes a police report is 35.

For years and until recently a call to the police department about a domestic dispute was treated with a ho-hum attitude. Fortunately, that has changed with these crimes getting the attention they deserve.

Russell Wilson, the star quarterback for the world champion Seattle Seahawks, is as impressive a young man as you will ever find, and he recently said about domestic violence “I can’t fix the NFL. I can’t change the guys around me. The only person I can change is the one in the mirror. I’m not a perfect person by any means. I’m just a recovering bully. But if we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it. For those of us in the NFL, there’s no excuse for violence off the field.”

Isn’t that true for all men? Maybe that’s the approach, one person at a time.

CNN recently did a piece about the NFL’s history in punishing players for domestic violence accusations they noted that players are sometimes suspended for a game or two. Occasionally charges were reduced or dropped but now with the NFL’s new policy of the six-game suspension without pay for a first offense and a lifetime suspension for another offense, it is more likely to get players attention.

But the league hasn’t always been so assertive about the matter, one expert said. Domestic violence accounts for 85 of the 713 arrests of NFL players since 2000 in a database compiled by USA Today.

In an NBC news story about why domestic violence prevention programs don’t work they noted that there is no consensus about why it happens, much less how to prevent it. Some programs have been shown to change the way men view women but few if any “have proven to change abusive behavior and none have been shown to work in difficult cases over the long-term.”

This story also noted that the typical profile of the abuser is somebody who shows controlling behavior, isolates the victim, is jealous or has a distrusting attitude. The abuser often holds very rigid gender expectations.

Many women are faced with the choice of leaving or staying. Each circumstance is different and if they do decide to leave, they should have a viable escape plan. That plan should include where you go and who are you going to call. Have your cell phone with you at all times and pack a “bug out bag” for you and your children that would include birth certificates, Social Security cards, checkbook, credit cards or money, keys to the car and house, some clothing and vital medications. The plan needs to be carefully thought out and even rehearsed. It may be the most important decision of your life as you don’t want to screw it up.

We suggest that women in a difficult domestic abuse situation learn some basic self-defense techniques such as the ones that are in this self-defense training DVD called Woman’s Combat. Then they should arm themselves with a self-defense product such as a pepper spray or stun device.

We have 180 different styles and types of pepper sprays and the most popular type is a keychain pepper spray with 106 varieties to choose from. The most popular of them all is this Streetwise keychain Defensive Spray that has as many as nine shots of oleoresin capsicum that can reach someone up to 7 feet away.

See our articles about Domestic Violence Or Freedom? which addresses the age-old question of do you stay and suffer or do you leave for freedom? And the article entitled Domestic Violence-Learned Trait Or Not? which explores in part the idea that domestic violence is a learned trait, something passed down from generation to generation. Both of these articles will get you to thinking more about domestic violence.

Have you ever been a victim of domestic abuse or violence. We want to hear your thoughts.

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