National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Chicago Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline
National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-SAFE (7233)
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence (also known as spouse abuse, partner violence, intimate-partner violence, and battering) is a pattern of coercion used by one person to exert power and control over another person in the context of a dating, family, or household relationship. The spectrum of domestic violence includes much more than physical assault. Behaviors include:
- Actual or threatened physical harm, psychological abuse, and forced sexual contact;
- Economic control;
- Social isolation;
- Destruction of a victim’s property, keepsakes, or personal possessions;
- Abuse of animals/pets;
- Misuse of divine beings or religious beliefs, practices, teachings and traditions as well as asserting gender superiority and attributing abusive behavior to cultural traditions.
Who Are the Victims of Domestic Violence?
- In the United States, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked. Stalking causes the target to fear she/he or someone close to her/him will be harmed or killed.
- On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.
Domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. Children are very often witnesses and victims themselves. These statistics do not include the vast number of unreported incidents of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence – Why?
Why Partners Abuse
Those who abuse generally learn to do so through observation, experience, and reinforcement. They may have been abused themselves. They seek power and control, and believe they have a right to use violence. Alcohol and drugs are often associated with the abuse, but they do not cause it. Those who abuse often blame their behavior on someone else, including their partners. Those who abuse may say things like “you made me do this.”
Why the Partner Who Experiences Abuse Stays
FEAR: for themselves, their children, that they cannot support themselves.
DISBELIEF: Those who are abused are often incredulous that it happened and believe it will not happen again, even when it does. Many partners who are abused think that they can stop the abuse if they just act differently.
SHAME: The partner who is abused may be ashamed to admit the person they love is terrorizing them. Some cannot admit or do not realize that they are abused.
They may mistakenly think that they have caused the abuse. But they are mistaken. No one ever ‘deserves’ or ’causes themselves’ to be abused.
What Are the Causes of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is learned, purposeful behavior. It reflects a need to achieve and maintain power and control over his or her partner. The single most influential factor of domestic violence in adulthood is domestic violence in the household in which the person was reared. Children who grow up in an environment where control is maintained through verbal threats and intimidation and where conflicts escalate into physical violence, are more likely to resort to the same methods of abuse as adults. Name-calling and other forms of abusive language are often triggers that escalate the violence.
Domestic violence is not caused by stress, anger, or excessive alcohol use, but they are often contributing factors. It is not caused by the behavior or actions of the person being abused.
Excerpts from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Domestic Violence
“As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form — physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal — is sinful; often, it is a crime as well. …
“[W]e emphasize that no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage. … Violence and abuse, not divorce, break up a marriage. We encourage abused persons who have divorced to investigate the possibility of seeking an annulment.”
prepared by the Old St. Mary’s and Old St. Pat’s Domestic Violence Ministry, October, 2017
Find resources online: [insert link here]
There Is Help
Help For Those Who Are Abused
- Begin to believe that you are not alone and that help is available for you and others in your household.
- Talk in confidence to someone you trust: a relative, friend, parish priest, deacon, religious sister or brother, or lay minister.
- If you choose to stay in the situation, at least for now, set up a plan of action to ensure your safety. This includes hiding a car key, personal documents, and some money in a safe place and locating somewhere to go in an emergency.
- Find out about resources in your area that offer help to those who experience abuse and their children. The phone book lists numbers to call in your local area. Your diocesan Catholic Charities office or family life office can help. Catholic Charities often has qualified counselors on staff and can provide emergency assistance and other kinds of help.
- Chicago Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline – Phone: 1-877-863-6338; TTY: 1.877.863.6339
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis intervention and referrals to local service providers. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY). E-mail assistance is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help for Those Who Have Abused
- Be ready to own your behavior. Know that you have the power to express yourself in safe, healthy ways.
- Be willing to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust who can help you evaluate the situation. Contact Catholic Charities or other church or community agencies for the name of a program for those who have abused.
- Keep in mind that the Church is available to help you. Part of the mission Jesus entrusted to us is to offer healing when it is needed.
- Find alternative ways to act when you become frustrated or angry. Talk to other people who have overcome abusive behavior. Find out what they did and how they did it.
- The web site www.psychologytoday.com has an online directory of therapists, support groups, anger management classes/groups and other resources.
- The National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline is also available to assist those who have abused: 1-800-799-7233.