Posts Tagged ‘women’
Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted in the U.S.A. This statistic from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence may seem shocking, but not when you take into account that one third of American women will be sexually assaulted within their lifetime — one third. That means one out of every three women you know (your sisters, daughters, mothers and friends) will likely fall victim to this awful crime.
The true scope of how many women have been attacked or victimized, especially by people they know, is terrifying. What’s even more terrifying is everything we don’t know. The last published results of the National Intimate Partner and Violence Survey are from 2010.
The closest we could get to finding real, recent answers on the frequency of sexual assault and rape in the last couple of years is from the FBI. The legal definition of rape was recently changed to include both male and female victims, but the FBI still includes statistics of the legacy definition (female victims only) in their annual crime report. We expected the FBI’s crime report to more or less match the figures from the CDC’s 2010 survey, but we noticed a drastically low number of rape victims — roughly 26 women per 100,000 people.
That’s when we realized a key fact. The FBI is basing their figures on arrests and convictions, excluding statutory rape and incest and only documenting “forcible rape.” The sad truth is that most rapes go unreported — with forcible rapes making up only a fraction of all reported rapes — and even less rapists are actually convicted. According to RAINN less than half of all rapes are reported, only 12% of what is reported actually leads to an arrest and only 3% of rapists see punishment for their actions.
When it comes to violence against women, not every zip code is equal, and some places are more dangerous than others. We’ve examined statistics from the FBI, the CDC’s 2010 comprehensive National Intimate Partner And Violence Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau to narrow down the most dangerous places for women in the United States from 2010 – 2014.
One out every six women in the U.S.A. was a victim of an attempted or completed rape in 2010.
Places like Alaska and Oregon hold the highest rates of rape against women, whereas states like Virginia and California hold some of the lowest rates. The 2014 information from the FBI also shows a different perspective than that of the above statistics from the CDC. While many of the same states are still on the top 10 list, some new states appear as well. This could be for a number of reasons. There could have been an increase or decrease in crime in the last four years among certain states or some states could just have a higher rate of conviction due to differing justice systems.
The 10 states with the largest percentage of women in 2010 who said they were raped in their lifetime are:
1. Alaska (21%)
2. Oregon (21%)
3. Michigan (20%)
4. Nevada (18.8%)
5. New Hampshire (18.7%)
6. Oklahoma (18.6%)
7. Washington (18%)
8. Colorado (18%)
9. Minnesota (16.9%
10. Connecticut (16.9 %)
In 2014, These were the states with the most rapes per 100,000 according to the FBI
1. Alaska (75.3)
2. New Mexico (51.4)
3. South Dakota (48.4)
4. Montana (42)
5. Michigan (40.9)
6. Arkansas (39.8)
7. Colorado (39.6)
8. North Dakota (37.3)
9. Kansas (37)
10. Arizona (36.6)
Sexual crimes against women (other than rape) are even more commonplace. These results from the 2010 CDC report are eye-opening.
At the lowest rate, which occurs in Louisiana, 22% of women have experienced sexual violence other than rape. Most states fall somewhere between the 30 and 35% mark, while others like Oregon see 43% of women falling victim to non-rape sexual violence. The 10 states where women are most frequently sexually assaulted are:
1. Oregon (43.3%)
2. Alaska (42%)
3. Maryland (41.9%)
4. New Hampshire (40.8%)
5. Washington (40.5%)
6. Illinois (38.6%)
7. North Carolina (38.3%)
8. New York (38%)
9. Connecticut (37.2%)
10. Kentucky (36.8%)
One of the most obvious ways to determine if a place is dangerous is by looking at the murder rate. The murder rate for females in 2010 was notably higher in certain states.
States in the southern half of the United States have a notably higher murder rate among females than states in the northern half. Southern states also have looser gun laws.
According to the CDC, in 2010, the states with the most murders per 100,000 people are:
1. Louisiana (4.44)
2. Mississippi (4.13)
3. Alabama (3.85)
4. New Mexico (3.69)
5. South Carolina (3.57)
6. Arkansas (3.48)
7. Nevada (3.48)
8. Georgia (3.32)
9. Tennessee (3.1)
10. North Carolina (3.07)
Stalking doesn’t always lead to violence, but it can. Even still, stalking is far less common than sexual assault but worth mentioning. This is the percentage of women in 2010 who reported having been stalked in their lifetimes.
In Kentucky, the state with the highest percent of incidents, 19% of women report being stalked. Most states see an 11-13% rate of stalking, while the states with the lowest instances, Wisconsin and Virginia, see a rate of 9.8% and 8.6% respectively. The states with the highest percentage of women who have been stalked are:
1. Kentucky (19%)
2. Alabama (18.4%)
3. Nevada (17.7%)
4. Oklahoma (16.6%)
5. New Mexico (16.4%)
6. North Carolina (16%)
7. Tennessee (15.3%)
8. Wyoming (15.2%)
9. Mississippi (15.1%)
10. Pennsylvania (15%)
Four out of every five assaults are committed by someone the victim already knows (a friend, boyfriend, acquaintance, etc), and one third of women are assaulted by an intimate partner. The 2010 report shows the sheer number of women who reported being assaulted by an intimate partner within their lifetimes.
Considering 94% of women who are murdered and four fifths of women who are raped are attacked by someone they know, these statistics are particularly telling. These states have the highest percentage of women who have been raped, physically assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner.
1. Oklahoma (36.8%)
2. Nevada (34.8%)
3. North Carolina (33%)
4. Michigan (32.5%)
5. Washington (32.4%)
6. Maryland (32%)
7. New Hampshire (32%)
8. Alaska (32%)
9. South Carolina (31.7%)
10. Tennessee (30.6%)
When labeling the most dangerous places for women, it may also be important to consider a woman’s mental health. A cluster of states seem to have had a notably higher suicide rate between 2004 and 2010.
If the attack is on oneself, versus a homicide or physical assault from another party, does it still count? Regardless of genetic predisposition to depression and self-harm, situations that lead a woman to suicide are perhaps indicators of an unhealthy environment.
States with highest rates of suicide per 100,000 people are:
1. Alaska (9.62)
2. Nevada (9..62)
3. Wyoming (8.19)
4. New Mexico (8.06)
5. Montana (7.96)
6. Colorado (7.76)
7. Oregon (7.23)
8. Arizona (7.18)
9. Florida (6.40)
10. Idaho (6.31)
The problem is still growing, which is why we need more information.
Despite the most comprehensive and accurate report being from 2010, the frequency of rape among women has not decreased. According to the FBI, the figures rose 1.6% between 2013 and 2014. This leads us to the question, why isn’t there a more recent CDC study on domestic abuse if the problem is growing? How many women will really be assaulted (sexually or otherwise) in their lifetimes? How many women were actually affected within the last year alone and didn’t report it to the police?
Perhaps if people are more aware of the massive scale of the problem, it could help lead to a change. For every woman who says it can never happen to me, who truly believes it’s only a problem for a few unfortunate people, there is another woman who understands that it can happen to anyone and it does happen to anyone, even if she remains silent in her understanding.
There is help out there for women who find themselves in trouble. If you need help and you’re in the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Originally posted on clarkprosecutor.org ( link below)
Fast Facts on Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (“Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.)
There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. (Schneider, 1990).
Three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers. (“Women and Violence,” Hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, August 29 and December 11, 1990, Senate Hearing 101-939, pt. 1, p. 12.)
One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991).
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. (Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” 2000; Sara Glazer, “Violence, Against Women” CO Researcher, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Volume 3, Number 8, February, 1993, p. 171; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July 2000; The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999).
In 1992, the American Medical Association reported that as many as 1 in 3 women will be assaulted by a domestic partner in her lifetime — 4 million in any given year. (“When Violence Hits Home.” Time. June 4, 1994).
An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
85% of domestic violence victims are women. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)
Police report that between 40% and 60% of the calls they receive, especially on the night shift, are domestic violence disputes. (Carrillo, Roxann “Violence Against Women: An Obstacle to Development,” Human Development Report, 1990)
Police are more likely to respond within 5 minutes if an offender is a stranger than if an offender is known to a female victim. (Ronet Bachman, Ph.D. “Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report.” U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice and Statistics. January 1994, p. 9.)
Battering occurs among people of all races, ages, socio-economic classes, religious affiliations, occupations, and educational backgrounds.
A battering incident is rarely an isolated event.
Battering tends to increase and become more violent over time.
Many batterers learned violent behavior growing up in an abusive family.
25% – 45% of all women who are battered are battered during pregnancy.
Domestic violence does not end immediately with separation. Over 70% of the women injured in domestic violence cases are injured after separation.
1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men have been stalked in their lifetime. (Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. (1998). “Stalking in America.” National Institute for Justice)
One in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape. (U.S. Department of Justice, “Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women,” November 1998)
Nearly 7.8 million women have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. (Frieze, I.H., Browne, A. (1989) Violence in Marriage. In L.E. Ohlin & M. H. Tonry, Family Violence. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Break the Cycle. (2006). Startling Statistics)
Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. (Strauss, Gelles, and Smith, “Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence” in 8,145 Families. Transaction Publishers 1990)
Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and aggression against peers, family members and property. (Peled, Inat, Jaffe, Peter G & Edleson, Jeffery L. (Eds) Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1995.)
30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. (Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Woman Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154)
The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion. (The Cost of Violence in the United States. 2007. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Atlanta, GA.)
One in ten calls made to alert police of domestic violence is placed by a child in the home. One of every three abused children becomes an adult abuser or victim.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in a national survey that 34 percent of adults in the United States had witnessed a man beating his wife or girlfriend, and that 14 percent of women report that they have experienced violence from a husband or boyfriend. More than 1 million women seek medical assistance each year for injuries caused by battering. (Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS); Horton, 1995. “Family and Intimate Violence”)
The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are, on average, sentenced to 15 years. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1989)
Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)
Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data. (Rennison, C. (2003, Feb). Intimate partner violence. Us. Dpt. of Justice/Office of Justice Programs. NXJ 197838. Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families. New Brunswick, N.J.; Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence. National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867)
Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey, August 1995)
People with lower annual income (below $25K) are at a 3-times higher risk of intimate partner violence than people with higher annual income (over $50K). (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
On average between 1993 and 2004, residents of urban areas experienced highest level of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Residents in suburban and rural areas were equally likely to experience such violence, about 20% less than those in urban areas. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. (Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006. Lieberman Research Inc., Tracking Survey conducted for The Advertising Council and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, July – October 1996)
Earlier this week, The Huffington Post ran a story on undiagnosed traumatic brain injury in domestic violence survivors. We received an outpouring of emails from women who suspected they might be suffering from the condition. Here, we spoke to some experts on what women should do if they believe they have a traumatic brain injury.
Need help right now? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
It’s fairly well known that traumatic brain injury — a complex injury caused by a jolt or blow to the head — disproportionately affects athletes and soldiers. But what about the 1 in 4 women in the U.S. who are estimated to be survivors of domestic violence?
What Are The Symptoms Of TBI?
According to Hirsch Handmaker, a radiologist who is studying the link between domestic violence and TBI, as many as 20 million women each year may have TBI from abusive relationships. Symptoms of TBI include headaches, double vision, imbalance and decreased motor ability, as well as problems with memory, planning, learning, aggression, irritability and depression, he said.
Women who suspect they may have undiagnosed brain injury should see their primary care physician and get a referral for testing, said Robert Knechtel, M.D., interim director of the Sojourner BRAIN program, which launched an ambitious effort to research TBI in domestic violence survivors this week. Women may be referred to an ophthalmologist, audiologist, cognitive therapist or a neurologist for testing, depending on their symptoms.
Knechtel said the most important thing is to be honest with your doctor about the cause of injury. “Don’t be ashamed of telling the physician that you’ve been a victim of domestic violence,” he said. “They need to get the complete picture.”
Make A List Of Injuries, Including When They Happened
Knechtel recommends that women write down a list of all the times they were hit in the head and what part of the head was hit, if it is safe to do so. TBI affects memory, so for some women, this may be a difficult task. But in order to treat TBI, he said, doctors need to pinpoint exactly where the injury is located in the brain.
Women should also note if they have ever been strangled — a common tactic by abusers and a predictor of future lethal violence. “Strangulation is a cause of traumatic brain injury, and you don’t really even need to lose consciousness,” Knechtel said. “If you have decrease of blood flow to the brain, you can have parts of the brain that are affected.”
Ask Your Doctor Any Questions About Your Injuries. Make Sure They Are Answered.
Write down questions for the doctor before the visit, Knechtel said, and make sure they are answered before you leave. While there is growing awareness of TBI in military and athletes, he said, many health care providers are still not educated about brain injury caused by domestic violence and may downplay women’s symptoms, or chalk them up to stress. “Insist on testing, and on having an investigation done,” Knechtel said. “If you are being ignored, you may need to find a different doctor.”
If a woman has an acute injury, she should seek help immediately at an emergency room. “The first 24 to 48 hours are critical from a concussion standpoint,” he said.
If You Experience A Concussion, It’s OK To Sleep And Rest
Knechtel cautioned that women are especially vulnerable to brain injury in the aftermath of a concussion, and should do whatever is possible to avoid a secondary head injury while in recovery. “The additive nature of concussions over a short period of time can significantly impact long-term brain damage,” he said, comparing a woman who is discharged from the hospital and subsequently assaulted to a football player who returns to active play before his brain is healed.
Following a concussion, he said, it can be helpful to lie down in a quiet, dark room and sleep. Despite what many of us were told growing up, letting someone fall asleep after a concussion is actually exactly what the brain needs.
Contact Your Local Domestic Violence Coalition
Allie Bones, the CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, recommends that women who have TBI symptoms reach out to their state domestic violence coalition to see what support services are available in their area.
“The coalitions tend to have the best information about what the domestic violence programs across the state offer,” she said. “These days, most programs are trying to focus on a trauma-informed approach, coming from the perspective that people who have experienced trauma have a lot of different ways their brain may be affected.”
Undiagnosed TBI can make it harder for women to leave abusive partners, as they may have trouble planning a safe exit strategy, holding down a job or may suffer from debilitating low self-esteem due to impaired cognitive abilities.
Bones said that domestic violence coalitions can give women an opportunity to talk about their experiences, and to find support with some of the typical problems that domestic violence survivors struggle with, like finding affordable housing and filing for divorce, which can become even more unmanageable with a brain injury.
When I fled my abusive relationship for the last time (yes, I left and went back), one of the first things my well-meaning friends and family asked was why I never told them what was happening to me.
“Why didn’t you say something,” they’d ask, looking concerned and confused. “I could have helped you. I could have done something!”
And I believe them. Had they known how horrible my life had become, I have no doubt that they would have done their best to help me. But all this happened more than twenty years ago. Today, I’m healed, emotionally healthy, and over it—and have the clarity of hindsight to see that my friends and family would have helped me.
But back then, not so much. Because when you’re in the thick of things, in the middle of a Hell that you’re convinced is of your own making, you can’t see anything clearly. Fear and shame consume you—they’re your constant companions. And when you look at your family and friends, you often can only see judgment and derision. You know their opinions about women who stay in abusive relationships.
Consider this scenario: You have a childhood friend with whom you’ve always been close. Lately, she’s not around as much as she used to be. You assume it’s because she’s all wrapped up in her new relationship. And at first she was. When things were new, she couldn’t get enough of him. They spent nearly every waking moment together.
But back then, you still heard from her—she called you. And even though she mostly just bragged about her new love, it didn’t matter. She was happy.
Then the calls became less frequent. And when you called her, she’d rush off the phone, sounding hurried and distracted. Mutual friends casually mentioned that they hadn’t seen her in a while. “It’s her new guy,” you’d tell each other. “They’re never apart these days.”
Soon you get used to her absence, to not talking to her as often. You miss her, but you don’t want to be that friend who seems like she’s trying to sabotage her new love.
One day you bump into her at the grocery store, and you’re shocked by her appearance. She’d always been so meticulous about how she dressed, especially in public. And now she’s wearing sweat pants—she’d never be caught dead wearing those outside of the house or gym! Yet here she is, not only in sweats, but they’re stained, and she’s wearing a baggy T-shirt, her hair, usually perfectly coiffed, now pulled into a sloppy ponytail. Her fingernails are ragged and unpolished.
She looks tired.
But you’re so happy to see her you pull her into a tight hug. She stiffens in your arms, as though she’s in pain. You let go—surprised. And then you take a really good look at her face.
She won’t meet your eyes. Her mouth trembles a little, and her lips are chapped. Is that a fading bruise on her cheek? You’re thinking. No, it must be the lighting.
You exchange pleasantries, but you can tell she’s not really engaged in the conversation. You get the feeling that she wants to leave … that she’s not really happy to see you. You feel uncomfortable, but you can’t exactly put your finger on why.
“How are you?” You ask again, only this time you mean it.
“Fine,” she answers briskly. “Really, I’m fine. Just in a hurry. I need to get home.”
“I won’t keep you, then.”
Something tells you she isn’t fine at all. You have an inexplicable urge to pull her into your arms again, but you don’t. Against your better judgment, you ignore your instincts and send her on her way. And in your gut you know that something is terribly wrong with your once outgoing, vivacious, beautiful friend.
Here’s what you don’t know: Your friend would love nothing more than to fall into your arms and ask for help. But she won’t. She can’t. She’s too ashamed. As awful as you think she looks, she believes she looks even worse. In a relatively short period of time, her boyfriend has gotten into her head and convinced her that she’s ugly, stupid, and worthless.
Your friend no longer puts any effort into her looks because he’ll either accuse her of dressing up for some “other man,” or he’ll just tell her she looks like crap anyway—so there’s no point in trying anymore.
Sweatpants are her new best friend.
She doesn’t call anymore because she’s embarrassed by her life. That wonderful guy she bragged about in the beginning has turned into a monster. And she knows that if her friends knew how bad things were, they’d think she was just as stupid as he says she is—and maybe she is. After all, she still loves him. So maybe she’s getting exactly what she deserves. At least that’s what she thinks.
You don’t see her as much because that’s what abusers do: They isolate their victims from friends and family. They do it subtly, though. He’d never go so far as to say that she isn’t allowed to see you—that’s too direct and he’s much smarter than that. Instead he manipulates her into staying away by doing things like picking a fight with her when she comes home. That way, the next time you invite her out, she’ll decline in order to avoid another fight. Or he’ll accuse her of loving her friends more than him. So that she’ll stay home instead of upsetting him. He uses her love for him like a weapon.
And those fights she’s so eager to avoid? “Fight” isn’t exactly the right word, not when she always ends up sprawled on the floor. At first, it was more yelling than anything. She could hold her own back then. She always did have an acid tongue. But then he became cruel, saying things that cut her to her core. And he twisted her words and used them against her. And all the while, he was playing the wounded one who couldn’t understand how she could treat him so badly when he loved her so much. There were the accusations and recriminations, wild scenarios forged in the deep valleys of his twisted mind. Her smart mouth never stood a chance against his emotional brutality.
By the time the first punch landed on her jaw, her psyche had been beaten to a pulp. And don’t be fooled by the shell of a woman you just saw at the grocery store. She used to fight back. She even got a few good punches in, especially that first time. But he’s stronger than her. Bigger than her. He’s been throwing punches all his life and she never even got a spanking as a child, so she never stood a chance against him physically, either.
You ask yourself, If it’s so bad for her, why didn’t she say something to me? I was right there! We’ve been friends since childhood. Surely she knows that I would help her!
Does she know that, though? Does she really? Or does she look at you, her childhood friend, and remember the time you said, “I don’t understand why women stay with men who hit them”?
Remember when the Ray Rice abuse story first broke, and you all were having drinks? Remember what you said? You said, “If a man beats me once, shame on him; if he beats me twice, shame on me. That woman was an idiot for marrying him after what he did to her in that elevator!”
Your friend remembers those words. And even though she knows you love and support her, she can’t help but wonder how she’d change in your eyes if you knew what was really happening. Understand that she wants desperately to leave her current situation, but doesn’t know how. She may also be convinced her abuser will hurt whoever does try to help her. Remember, he’s in her head, even when he’s not beating her.
Trust your instincts, though. You know your friend. And from that encounter in the store, you know that something is definitely wrong. So please, don’t be afraid to follow up with her.
Start with a phone call. But ease into it: Don’t immediately launch into how you think she’s being abused, or anything like that. If her abuser’s at home when you call, she won’t say anything of substance, anyway. You simply want to convey the message that you’re concerned and want to help. Keep your words loving and gentle—and pressure-free.
Say something like, “I know you’re busy now. But when you have a few minutes to yourself, give me a call. I’m worried about you and want to help. I love you.” Keep the call brief, but be clear: You’re worried, you want to help, and you love her.
If she doesn’t call back right away, call her again. Keep reaching out to her. Try to reach her when you know she’s alone or at least away from him. Remember, your goal is to help, not endanger her any further.
Be prepared for her denials. Shame, guilt, fear, and even worry for your safety will keep her from opening up to you. Just gently remind her that if she’s in the kind of trouble you suspect, she has no reason to be ashamed. You love and respect her, and just want to help.
The reality is that gentle persuasion may not work. Real intervention, possibly involving law enforcement may be required. If that’s the case, don’t attempt to handle this on your own. Involve other friends and family, and most importantly, seek professional guidance from the experts. Call the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-779-7233. Let the experts help you help her.
You need to know that an abuse victim leaves her abuser on average seven times before she leaves for good. So, even if your friend leaves this time, she may go back. This is where your friendship will really be tested. You’ll be disappointed and even angry that, after all the work you did to help her escape, she willingly goes back. And your anger is understandable.
But an abuser’s most lethal weapon is his ability to manipulate his victim’s mind. Breaking his hold on your friend will take time, patience, professional help, and a whole lot of hard work on her part. You just have to keep loving and supporting her, even when she disappoints you. Try to resist judging her: It will only make things worse.
It’s painful to watch someone you love suffer domestic abuse. It’s also hard to understand why women stay with or return to the men that hurt them. But leaving is far more difficult than people think. Fear, lack of financial resources, and shame are just a few of the reasons women stay (or return). If children are involved, it’s even more complicated. Many women truly have nowhere to go. Shelters fill up fast and are few and far between. And sadly, as far as we’ve come in this country with regards to strengthening laws to protect women, it’s still way too easy for abusers to track down their victims and murder them. So some women just stay, hoping to survive another day.
As friends and supporters of abuse victims, we need to be more educated about the dynamics and mechanics of domestic violence. And most of all, we need to shed our own preconceived notions about the victims. They need our support and empathy. I learned that the hard way. I used to sit in judgment of women who stayed with their abusers, too. And I stayed on that high horse until the man I loved knocked me off with a punch.
The below article was originally posted on: dating a sociopath ( link below)
Did you feel like you were going crazy? You were losing your mind? This is all part of the sociopath’s crazy making behaviour.
The sociopath will always accuse you of doing the very thing that they are guilty of themselves. They do this to deflect the attention from them.
Examples of this are
Accusing you of cheating
Accusing you of being dishonest or lying
Accusing you of talking about them
Accusing you of doing whatever it is that they are guilty of themselves
The sociopath has a bizarre ability to be able to make YOU feel guilty and feel like you have defend yourself… for things that he has done.
You see the sociopath, is actually fairly intelligent. He knows that whilst you are busy defending yourself, and proving your innocence, you will be confused, and will forget about the real issue, the truth that you are close to uncovering about the sociopath.
It’s all a game to the sociopath. Life is a game. With little inside themselves they spend most of their life playing stupid mind games.
Accusing you of things that they have done themselves, is something that they will do over and over again. The result for you, the victim is
Likely he will also say ‘everyone thinks, or says….’ – so you feel isolated too
Afterwards, after wasted hours, protesting your innocence, you think
How did that happen?
The truth is right there, you are relieved that the constant questions and accusations have stopped. There is peace again.
Once again, the sociopath has managed to manipulate the situation, and deflect blame back onto you. You have spent another few hours of your time, stressed, anxious and defending your corner.
You feel that yet again there was yet another problem that didn’t need to be there. Some other issue, that didn’t need to be there.
But for the sociopath, it isn’t like that. He is playing a game. Playing a game with your mind and your heart. There are two things that are important to the sociopath
If you were to catch him out in a lie, he would neither win, or be in control. So he will do anything that he can do, to win the game, and control the game.
That is all that it is.
The sociopath probably doesn’t even realise the effect that this has on you. After all, he never thinks about your needs, and this is in terms of both good and bad things. He, like always is thinking about himself, not about you, your welfare or your needs.
It is all just a game. A stupid, mindless game. That could continue for the rest of your life if you let it.
Isn’t it time to move forward? To stop playing the stupid game with the sociopath, who could play forever. If you let him. The sociopath doesn’t feel too much, but he does feel satisfaction from
Being in control
Maybe right now it is time to stop playing the game. To finish the game. Stop playing. It is now time to focus on you. On your needs and your welfare. After all when you were with the sociopath, so much of your time and energy was wasted, defending yourself, and playing pointless mind games, nobody was taking care of your needs.
Endless stress and endless drama. that is the relationship with the sociopath. There comes a time, when the only thing to do, is to put in place no contact rules, stick to them, and focus on you, and loving yourself and creating your own beautiful world. A world where there isn’t someone constantly trying to pull you apart.
You deserve so much better 🙂
Copyright datingasociopath.com 2013
This is for all the Protective Mothers with empty arms and hurting hearts who are missing their children every second of every day, but who are deeply hurting this weekend- Mother’s Day weekend. Know that no matter what, you ARE your children’s mother. No one -and certainly no court- can take away this God-given role in your children’s lives. Please know this in your heart. PMA INTL. celebrates you, Protective Mom, and deeply understands the unconditional love and heroic sacrifices you have made to protect your children from abuse and harm. You are modern day heroes, and PMA INTL strongly believes that you will go down in history as such. PMA INTL loves and supports you and your precious children now and forever. You are always in are hearts. Happy Mother’s Day!