This and every October, Philadelphia recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence can affect anyone — regardless of your class, race, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In the United States, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. According to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. About 1 in 6 women and 1 in 14 men have experienced contact sexual violence by an intimate partner. Domestic Violence is more than just physical abuse — it is a pattern of behaviors that a partner uses against the other person with the purpose of gaining and maintaining power and control in the relationship. These behaviors can include: isolation, financial deprivation, stalking, emotional abuse, and threats to harm partner, children or pets. Many people often ask, “Why do people stay in abusive relationships?” Leaving is difficult and even dangerous. Most domestic violence homicides happen after someone has left or attempted to leave an abusive partner. Survivors face many common barriers to safety including fear of: death, physical harm, child custody/stability, homelessness, cultural/religious shame, [...]
Domestic Violence Awareness Month happens in October, but every day of the year several thousands of people are experiencing harm in their relationships. Normally when people hear of domestic violence stories they think of a woman, scarred and bruised from being battered by a man. The image of a woman’s swollen face with a black eye and bloody lip is probably the first visual that forms in most minds when they imagine someone who has experienced domestic violence.