DV and Me…. and You…… and All of Us

I’m interviewing for a job next week and as part of the interview I have to make a 10-15 minute presentation. I thought I’d bore you with my topic as I get ready for that.

In case you’re not aware, I went through training in order to become a subject matter expert on domestic violence. Why is it important that child welfare professionals become familiar with domestic violence?

In an estimated 30 to 60 percent of the families where either domestic violence or child maltreatment is identified, it is likely that both forms of abuse exist (Appel, A. E., & Holden, G. W. (1998). Co-occurring spouse and child abuse: Implications for CPS practice. APSAC Advisor, 11(1), 11-14; Edleson, J. L. (1999); Stark, E., & Filcraft, A. H. (1988); Hughes, H. M., Parkinson, D., & Vargo, M. (1989). Witnessing spouse abuse and experiencing physical abuse: A “double whammy”? Journal of Family Violence, 4(2), 197-209).

For victims who experience severe forms of domestic violence, their children also are in danger of suffering serious physical harm (Barnett, O. W., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R. D. (1997). Family violence across the lifespan: An introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; Hughes, H. M., et al. (1989)).

Half of men who frequently assault their wives also abuse their children (Edleson, J. L. (1995). Mothers and children: Understanding the links between woman battering and child abuse [On-line]. Available: http://www.mincava.umn.edu/papers/nij.htm).

Perpetrators of domestic violence who were abused as children are more likely to physically harm their children (Suh, E., & Abel, E. M. (1990). The impact of spousal violence on the children of the abused. Journal of Independent Social Work, 4(4), 27-34).

Victims of domestic violence are more likely to perpetrate physical violence against their children than caretakers who are not abused by a partner or spouse (Straus, M. A., & Gelles, R. J. (Eds.). (1990); Walker, L. E. (1984). The battered woman syndrome. New York: Springer).

A review of CPS cases in two States identified domestic violence in approximately 41 to 43 percent of cases resulting in the critical injury or death of a child (Spears, L. (2000). Building bridges between domestic violence organizations and child protective services).

Remember Kristen? I told you about how her husband killed her, her son, her nephew and her mother. Kristen was 9 months pregnant with the child of the man who killed her.
Remember Kristen? I told you about how her husband killed her, her son, her nephew and her mother. Kristen was 9 months pregnant with the child of the man who killed her.

In my world, I’m faced with family violence almost every day. In your world, maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. But I’m guessing that unless you live a solitary existence, you know someone who is the victim of domestic violence.

In the US, 38 million women will experience some sort of intimate partner violence in her lifetime. Over 4.5 million experience violence that the hand of an intimate partner every year. DV is the third leading cause of homelessness.

And yet we don’t seem to care. The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6500, while the number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,500 (Huffington Post). Americans are all up at arms about veterans, but they’re not shouting to the rooftops to end family violence.

We blame and shame the victim. We dismiss the violence by saying if it was really that bad, she’d leave. But it’s when she does leave she is most vulnerable, because she is 70 times more likely to be murdered in the weeks AFTER she leaves. Domestic violence victims are 8 times more likely to be murdered by their partner if there are firearms in the home, and of course we have LOTS of guns in our homes.

And for those of you who could give a rats’ ass about humans? In Wisconsin, 68 percent of battered women revealed that abusive partners had also been violent toward animals, and over 3/4 of these cases occurred in the presence of the women and/or children to intimidate and control them. Children who are exposed to domestic violence were 3 times more likely to be cruel to animals. The Chicago Police Department found that approximately 30% of individuals arrested for dog fighting and animal abuse had domestic violence charges on their records. These statistics come from the ASPCA.

The reality is, in the end, we’re all fighting the same fight. Perhaps it’s time we joined together and started acting like it. 

22 thoughts on “DV and Me…. and You…… and All of Us

  1. I wish you all the luck for your presentation. This world needs people like you who look behind the story and who know that we have to act instead to close our eyes and to ignore violence and abuse…

  2. Such a sad state of affairs. You left me thinking, though… Instead of just fighting it, shouldn’t we be trying to find ways to end the cycle? Bringing awareness to the problem is a great start…. as they say, sunshine is the best disinfectant. However, things that happen behind millions of closed doors are difficult (if not impossible) to bring into the harsh sunlight of truth. It would be far better if we could find a way to keep that first abuse from happening. Perhaps by educating women about the warning signs that they are dealing with an abusive personality… and being able to walk away before getting involved with the abuser in the first place. Thank you for taking on this challenging and difficult work. We need more dedicated people like you out there!!!

    1. I think we need to teach boys that girls must be treated with respect & wouldn’t it be great if schools actually role modelled that in their teaching, with how history & famous people are portrayed along with how all staff act.

  3. Best wishes on the interview, Jen. But I have to point out that men are sometimes victims of domestic violence and that women also abuse infants and children. I don’t believe there are any clear statistics on abused men because most won’t dare to come forward and tell what happened; otherwise, they become the butt of jokes. If a man tries to defend himself physically against an abusive female, all she has to do is call the police and turns things around. Besides, violence against males is socially acceptable.

    However, violence against women is no longer shoved into the shadows as in years before. Family violence used to be considered a private affair, and no one – not even the police – considered it appropriate to intervene. Kids would go to school with bruised eyes and swollen lips; if anyone asked what happened, their parents would just say they had misbehaved at home, and the child would be shamed into silence.

    You’re definitely right about the animal abuse factor. Abused children often turn their anger on helpless animals. Fortunately, authorities no longer consider that just “kids being kids.” Regardless of who’s the victim and who’s the perpetrator, violence is violence, and no one should tolerate it or be ridiculed for trying to seek help.

    Thanks for everything you do, Jen!

    1. Women have fought & educated for many decades to get violence against them & their children recognised. It was male dominated police forces that ignored them. If men have an issue with violence, they need to provide their own education to bring it out of the dark, women have more than enough to deal with, just staying alive.

  4. I hope that you get your new job. Domestic Violence has been going on for years. it was under reported because the victims were told that no one would believe them I know this for a fact. I did report and I had him thrown out of the house.

  5. Good lucks on your interview and presentation Jen. Domestic violence and children abuse are very related to animal abuse like you said….very true…..

  6. Welcome everyone ! I’m Angelina.
    Even though I jokingly credit my aunt for my writing talent, I know that it is a ability I have fostered from childhood. Though my aunt is a writer, I also started out young.
    I’ve always had a way with words, according to my favorite professor . I was always so excited in English when we had to do a research paper .
    Now, I help current learners achieve the grades that have always come easily to me. It is my way of giving back to schools because I understand the obstacles they must overcome to graduate.

    Angelina Mays – Professional Writer – How to Teach Students to Write an Essay Corps

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