Domestic Violence

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Have you ever been afraid to go home from work; afraid of being hit, sworn at or threatened? To many, home is not a place where they feel love, warmth and nurturance. For these people, home is a place of hurt, fear and isolation.

Partner abuse occurs despite marital status. It affects people across all races, religions and educational backgrounds. While male partners experience abuse within their intimate relationships, it has been found that 95 percent of all spouse assaults are perpetrated by men with women as the victims.

Statistics show that every year, six million women in the United States are beaten by their husbands or boyfriends. Despite the prevalence of this abuse, women are still reluctant to report the violence or to seek help from available Resources. What happens in relationships is often seen as private and therefore the abuse is frequently kept hidden. This secrecy creates an environment of isolation and fear for the victim, leaving him or her feeling depressed and alone.

Physical assault is only one face of spouse abuse. It can take many forms including physical force, sexual abuse, intimidation, emotional abuse, controlling behavior, verbal assault and economic abuse.

The abusive relationship has some defining characteristics and stages. The abuse is often cyclical in nature with the following stages as identified by:

  • Tension building, with minor battering and abusive incidents.
  • Acute assaults, as the perpetrator's anger and severity of abuse increase.
  • The honeymoon phase, as the abuser displays loving behavior and reinforces the positive feelings in the relationship.

This renews the victim's hope that the relationship is healthy and loving and that no future violent episodes will occur.

Additionally, there are common symptoms of domestic violence. These include physical symptoms, such as unexplained bruises and welts, injuries in various stages of healing and implausible explanations for injuries.

Behavioral symptoms may consist of emotional withdrawal from friends and family, crying, helplessness and aggressiveness.

Finally, examples of psychological symptoms include irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, feelings of guilt, self blame, shame and depression.

There are many Resources available for victims and perpetrators experiencing relationship abuse. For additional information about domestic violence and available Resources, please contact your Employee/Member Assistance Program at 800-292-2780.