Today, I’m writing about domestic violence. It’s not a happy subject, I know. It’s also not a subject that’s talked about enough.
Today is the Seventh Annual It’s Time To Talk Day, a day that is dedicated to just this one goal: to start and continue conversations about relationship abuse, domestic violence, and emotional abuse, to join together in making an effort to raise awareness and reverse the humbling statistics:
- 1 in 3 women will be in an abusive relationship in her lifetime.
- On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
- Teenage girls are reporting dating abuse at rates higher than women, which makes them the most at-risk group for abuse in America.
- One in five tweens—ages 11 to 14—say their friends are victims of emotional, physical or verbal dating violence.
I’ve worked for several years in the mental health and substance abuse treatment field here in Maine. The tie between domestic violence and substance abuse is strong. A few eye-opening stats from the book Women Under the Influence:
- As many as 20% of all pregnant women experience abuse, which often starts or intensifies during pregnancy. One study of pregnant women and new mothers entering substance abuse treatment found that 23% reported being physically assaulted, 16% reported being beaten up, 12% reported being assaulted with a weapon, 3% reported being deliberately burned and 14% reported being raped.
- Alcohol is implicated in as many as 73% of all rapes and 70% of all incidents of domestic violence. It is linked to more incidences of violence than illicit drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and PCP.
- Not only does substance abuse increase a woman’s risk of being raped or assaulted but also being the victim of such a crime increases a woman’s risk of subsequent drug abuse.
Love should not hurt. If you are being abused, know that it is not your fault. There are people who want – and are there – to help you.
If you are in Maine and you need help, call 211 or visit 211maine.org
If you are outside of Maine take a look at these national resources from Violence Unsilenced
Photo Credit: STAIRS © Natalja Sidorenko | Dreamstime.com