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Domestic Violence Consequences Part 1

Domestic Violence Consequences Part 1
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Domestic Violence Consequences Part 1

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domestic violenceJessica Silver was a victim of domestic violence. Jessica Silver (named changed) was a high school dropout who had a minimum wage job in a fast food restaurant. Her husband began hitting her while he was drunk. The cycle of violence follows a typical sequence. Tension and arguments developed, and progressed to violence. Jessica’s husband apologized and promised it would never happen again. The couple made up and entered a calm phase. Then tension and arguments develop. The cycles increased in frequency and severity. Jessica thought he had finally learned to control his temper. She was brought to the hospital one evening after a severe beating that resulted in her becoming paralyzed from the waist down. I met Jessica when I was in graduate school when she answered questions posed to her by my classmates.

Domestic violence is also called intimate partner violence. It describes physical, sexual, or emotional harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among different sex or same sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

How big a problem is it?
Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are major public health problems in the United States. Nearly one woman in five and one man in 71 in the United States has been raped at some point in their lives. The rape may have been completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol or drug facilitated completed penetration.

More than half of the female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 41 percent by an acquaintance. Of male victims, more than half were raped by an acquaintance and 15 percent by a stranger.

domestic violenceAbout one in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Four women die every day as a result of intimate partner violence.

What is the impact of violence by an intimate partner?
Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States who have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner have reported at least one impact related to this violent behavior:

  • Being fearful
  • Concerned about safety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Contacting a crisis hotline
  • Need for health care
  • Need for housing services
  • Need for victim’s advocate services
  • Missing school or work
  • Injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Poor physical health
  • Poor mental health
  • Activity limitations

In women:

  • Asthma
  • Irritable bowel symptoms
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Suicide attempts
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy or gynecological complications
  • Substance abuse

Intrigued by Jessica’s story, I wrote my course paper on battered women. My professor encouraged me to submit the paper for publication. In 1980, my first article was published: “The Battered Wife” in Nursing 80. This launched my publishing career.

In part 2, I share questions you can ask as an attorney to uncover abuse and what advice you can offer your clients.

Med League provides well-qualified medical experts witness nationwide.

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