Domestic violence is the secret killer within our modern day society; and like all secrets, they stay hidden for a long time until something happens to expose it. Having planned my show 4 weeks in advance, I couldn’t imagine that this subject would be topical within mainstream media last week. I guess because a ‘celebrity’said he had hit his then wife because he couldn’t get a word in – a pathetic excuse…or should I say reason. In my opinion people abuse others because they want control – physical, social emotional or financial.
The media picked on it – rightly so and brought it back into our consciousness. I say consciousness because if you haven’t experienced or are experiencing it, it really isn’t part of our day-to-day lives. Some of us block it out of our memory completely and are therefore detached from the concept and/or the stats. If you didn’t know how bad it is, then here’s some that shocked me and maybe you too:
- Two women are killed every week due to domestic violence in the UK
- It is estimated that one in four women will experience domestic violence at some time in her life
- One incident is reported to the police every minute (Stanko, 2000)
- Domestic violence and other abuse is the most common cause of depression and other mental
- Health difficulties in women
- 50-60% of patients using mental health services are affected by DV and over 20% will be currently abused
- 18% of women affected are suicidal
- 64% have post traumatic stress disorder (range of symptoms numbing of emotions, flashbacks, anger avoidance, hyperaousal, depression, substance misuse)
- 19% of women experiencing domestic violence misuse or depend on alcohol (compared to 5-8% of women in general)
- Women being abused are more likely to use drugs other than alcohol
- Other psychological impacts of domestic violence include anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, sleep disturbances, somatic symptoms, social phobia, panic attacks, damage to confidence and self-esteem
- 1.2 million women in the UK suffer from domestic violence
- 1 in 4 women are likely to experience some sort of domestic violence in their lifetime
- A British crime study showed that women aged 16-24; and men aged 16-34 was more likely to suffer relationship age.
In truth, I think the stats are a lot higher – how many of us will honestly admit that we have been a victim at some point in our lives – as a child or an adult? Few! Especially if we have respectable jobs/careers and generally don’t carry any physically scars. There’s still a stigma associated with domestic violence, that women are afraid/ashamed to talk about because we think it shows us as weak for tolerated it for however long or short – especially in this era when women are doing so well in business etc.
Whatever the case, I can assure you the emotion scars linger on for a lot longer and the healing can be drawn out in some cases. Sometimes even when you think you’ve dealt with the issues associated with it, they reappear in a different form; especially when it comes to forming relationships with the opposite sex.
The shame is so much to bear that we keep it all in expecting for a miracle or magic wand to wave that part of our life away. It is tragic! Some women can cope with it, but others find it really challenging and sadly never get over it. It almost becomes a clutch to hang on to because it has gone on for so long, and perversely don’t want to let go of the memories, pain and humiliation associated with it. If that’s you, then there’s help out there. Don’t be ashamed to go and talk about it – please.
I am glad I did the show; and felt privileged I had great guests who were able to highlight what changes to the law and policies would mean to and for women – more humiliation and shame. As one guest pointed out – it’s not the intention of the government to do so; but the truth is the consequence(s) of the laws and policies will result in more hardship for women – sadly.
You can listen to the show here – Issues with domestic violence