If you’ve been listening to the news lately, you’ve probably heard the high-profile domestic violence claims of world famous actor Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard. There have been allegations that he has physically assaulted her. While we can’t confirm or deny these allegations, we know we can at least start a conversation.
Unfortunately, there are millions of domestic violence victims who don’t have a voice or a platform. Domestic violence is a serious epidemic that claims many lives every day. If we want to stop domestic violence, we must be aware of the severe impact it has on us.
According to the NCADV.org:
- Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States
- On average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
- 72% of all murder- suicides involve an intimate partner- 94% of the victims of these murder-suicides are female
- Between 21- 60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons related to abuse
What’s even more shocking, those are only a few heart-wrenching statistics. There are more statistics on a domestic violence that has an impact on the economy, physical and mental illness, children and more. So, it begs the question; What can be done to stop domestic violence?
There’s a lot that can be done to stop domestic violence, but you must first be aware of the signs of domestic violence. While it can be difficult to identify the signs of domestic violence, you can look out for a few key factors in the abused and the abuser.
The abusive partner typically possesses certain characteristics that include:
- Irrational behavior
- Threatens violence
- Physically and verbally abusive
- Unpredictable behavior
- Controlling behavior
- Isolates away from family/friends
The abused partner is typically suffering from the following:
- Low self- esteem
- Physical bruises
- Emotional/mental abuse
- Poor self-image
While we know it can be difficult to get a domestic violence victim to leave his/her partner, there are some things we can do to help prevent a tragic incident from occurring. So, what can we do as a community to stop domestic violence?
Be a friend- It’s never easy watching someone suffer. Whether you know the abused or not, it’s time to step in and be the friend he/she needs to get through this difficult time. It can be as simple as being a sounding board, letting them cry on your shoulder, or researching shelters and assistance that lead them to safety.
Start a prevention program– We have prevention programs for avoiding sickness to avoiding weight gain, so why not have one for domestic violence? Yes, the best way to stop domestic violence is to prevent it. This requires educating men and women about the harmful effects that domestic violence has on everyone involved.
Enforce stricter penalties– In many cases, first time offenders seldom receive jail time or harsh penalties. They simply take a course or undergo a few short weeks of counseling. However, the success rate is relatively low, and first time offenders often become repeat offenders. This is why it’s imperative that we enforce stricter laws upon domestic violence perpetrators. You can do this by presenting a case to law makers, have people sign a petition or voting for a member of Congress who feels just as strongly about domestic violence as you do.
Raise awareness- Organize a local domestic violence walk or fundraiser to raise awareness about the harmful effects of domestic violence. The money and donations you receive from the fundraiser can go towards domestic violence shelters and originations. This way they can provide the shelter, support, and guidance that many victims of domestic violence often need.
Call local authorities- While it’s never a good idea to intervene during a domestic violence dispute, you can do your part by calling the proper officials. If you suspect someone is a victim of domestic violence or you hear a dispute, the first thing you should do is call the local police. They are properly trained on how to handle domestic violence disputes.