One in four women in America will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And yet, we don't talk about it. Why is that? Is it because we're embarrassed? Ashamed? Because we think it's our fault?
No matter the reason, the silence surrounding domestic violence keeps victims trapped. They may not realize that what's happening to them is abuse. They may think they deserve it. They may be afraid to speak out because their abuser has threatened them or their children.
It's time to break the silence. It's time to start talking about domestic violence.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
It's important to remember that domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone—regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or economic background.
Why We Don't Talk About It
There are many reasons why Victims of domestic violence stay silent. They may be ashamed or embarrassed. They may believe it's their fault. They may be afraid of what will happen if they speak out—their abuser may threaten them or their children. They may not even realize that what's happening to them is abuse.
Breaking the Silence
The first step to ending domestic violence is breaking the silence. If you're a victim of domestic violence, tell someone—a friend, family member, clergy member, therapist, doctor, or teacher. There are also many local and national organizations you can reach out to for help.
You are not alone—help is available!