For the Women, Children, & Their Loved Ones Affected By Domestic Violence

Dr. Fazeeda RahmanDiscussion, General, Intimate Partner Violence, Mental Health, Women Wellness15 Comments

In honor of domestic violence awareness month, I would like to share my thoughts on the matter-specifically intimate partner violence against women. Statistics are that 1 in every 4 women will be impacted by domestic violence. That means that if you stand in a circle with three other women, 1 out of the 4 of you will have been impacted by domestic violence. I can tell you that the matter is personal one for me. As a young girl I was particularly impacted by abuse I witnessed between two people I loved. Due to the things that I witnessed, I grew up with anger, confusion, and resentment especially towards one of the persons I love-the woman.  Why? Because I blamed her. I thought why don’t you leave? What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see that this is wrong treatment ? Don’t you value yourself more than that? Later in adulthood, I blamed for her for not being “strong” enough to leave years prior.

Victim Blaming

However, after I began to learn more about domestic violence and how complex it is, I learned it is not the victim’s fault to stay in an abusive relationship. It may be out of necessity, fear of further physical abuse or death, or multiple other reasons she stays or returns back to her abuser. Little resources, shame, blame, experiencing depression or post traumatic stress, not to mention being a mother, or being part of a culture in which abuse is tolerated or condoned, may make it difficult for her to leave. Victim blaming I learned is not only insensitive, but nonsensical, and serves to hurt rather than solve the problem of violence against women.

What about the abuser? What about him causes him to initiate violence and think it’s OK? Culture, societal values, machismo? Maybe he grew up in an abusive home himself and learned that violence is an acceptable way to manage his emotions. Whichever the rationale- violence towards women is wrong and unacceptable on all levels. The devastation it creates is inexplicable-for the victim, their children, and other family members or loved ones. Solutions must be developed and implemented to address abuse- I believe not only on an individual level but on a societal level. The time for discomfort and leaving the matter to be resolved between a couple should be no more.

Domestic Violence Awareness

Despite the disturbing nature of talking about the topic, it exists. We all need to talk more about the ugly that resides behind closed doors, or in the streets- for those brazen enough to do it there. We need each other-both women and men talking about the issue and deciding what will be done about it-if we happen to be or know a victim of abuse. This topic hit home with me a couple of months ago when someone close to me was personally affected by the matter again. The situation surprised me and forced me to deal with the matter. It arose old skeletons in my heart that apparently needed to be dealt with. So deal I did. Considering the fact that I had heard recently of other women on the news whose story ended fatally-I had to speak up and act accordingly with wisdom, but act nonetheless. I still feel the repercussions from my involvement in the matter, but staying quiet was not an option for me.

The Impact of Domestic Violence

We will all be impacted by domestic violence in one way or the other-if not directly, indirectly; we will at some point come across someone affected by it. It is for all of us to decide what we will do when that time comes. What are your thoughts on the matter?

15 Comments on “For the Women, Children, & Their Loved Ones Affected By Domestic Violence”

  1. Wow. Thank you for sharing the statistics. It was really surprising to hear that 1 out of 4 women would go through this. I know this is something that I fee should really be addressed. How can you get someone going through this to finally decide to step out on faith and trust that there is no reason that they should tolerate this behavior from anyone? I had a friend who asked for help and when she was assisted to leave the abusive relationship, she chose to return to it afterwards. As a friend that was really difficult for me to handle . How do you help someone in that case? I need to practice not blaming the victim. Very insightful article. thank you

    1. Thank you for your post. It is hard to see the people we care for being mistreated. We can feel powerless to help them change their situation- and the truth is that they may feel powerless as well-maybe for different reasons, but powerless nonetheless. Statistics are that women who leave their abuser will return to that partner on average 7 times before they leave the abuser for good (National Domestic Violence, 2013).

      Supporting a friend in an abusive relationship is definitely challenging but I think becoming aware about factors related to why women stay may offer some perspective about victims of abuse and their actions, which may make supporting a friend more doable. To support our loved ones, much patience and encouragement will be needed on our end. Some victim’s spirits may have been broken, so time will be needed to rebuild their self-esteem. Remind your friend of goals important to her so that hopefully her motivation to be well will increase. Talk with her about the effects of abuse on her (& her those she cares for). Don’t preach, but share out of concern, pray for her, and encourage her to seek help.

      Each woman’s reason to leave-if they leave, will be an individual one. We can’t force those we love to do what we think they “should” do, or we may end up causing pain similar to an abuser’s force on them.

      There are no simple answers about how to handle a loved one in an abusive relationship, but support for that person we love will be needed to help her gain the strength needed to make a decision best for her.

  2. Another elephant that too many are afraid to discuss. Domestic violence has affected far more people than reported. It seems that it starts with verbal abuse…See, once the victim has been convinced that the perpetrator is all they’ve got, it becomes difficult to consider an escape.

    An abuser is careful to create a platform before showing his true colors. We need to know the signs: if he’s finding reasons to pull you from your family, that’s a flag. If he just dislikes your friends for no apparent reason, flag. And when he starts criticizing you in a harsh manner (messing with your self worth )…and then apologizing: FLAG, run because the next time he will use his hands.

    It’s not the woman’s fault for staying or going back, she’s buried in all types of fear… I know , it takes courage. Now it becomes everyone’s job to look after the abused of our society. They need emotional support, much psychotherapy and a guide to the resources available to them.

    Women need to be reminded that we are stronger than we look, more powerful than we know and way too valuable and beautiful to become anyone’s punching bag. Domestic violence is absolutely unacceptable no matter the culture.

    1. Thank you for your post. I love the sentiments in your last paragraph- women are more powerful than we know. All too often as you mentioned, women’s self-worth is negatively affected by abusers treatment of them. Hearing about their value is very important to help women increase their self-esteem, to hopefully better their lives. They need to hear from those closest to them, and in the absence of loved ones- hear from others they encounter on their path: therapist, pastor, teacher, neighbor- whomever can remind them of their worth as God designed them to be.

  3. I myself grew up in a home of domestic violence. My father was an alcoholic and for 16 years my mom was his punching bag.
    Our parents came out of a generation where Divorce was not common. Where living on one income was impossible. Where single lifestyle could not survive. So leaving the abuser was not an option in that generation time and economy. It has become more possible and common today.

    She eventually fled to America with her children to escape the escalating abuse. Finally making a clear breakaway with no returning. Life as a single mother now was desperate. She had to leave her kids home alone with no sitter to take miniscule jobs to make ends meet with one income in a new country.

    My siblings and I grew up witnessing violence, desperation, fear, abandonment, neglect, poverty, broken home, grief for loss of one parent through separation. A life of being disadvantaged due to broken home and one parent.

    I also grew up with traumatic fear- feelings of low self worth, low self esteem and very insecure and fearful, never felt good enough. My brother and sister are still very lost and broken even after 30 years leaving my father. Domestic Violence affects everyone in the family.

    There is a vicious cycle of the abuser and co-dependence and it takes a lot for the person to really leave and change their life around.

    They need a good support system. Supportive extended family, close friends, support groups, church family and a community that can help them break out and rebuild their lives inside out. They need a lot of prayers most of all to depend on God for breakthrough. I can go on and on this topic.

    1. Thanks for your openness with sharing. I’m glad that your mother found the courage to leave the abusive relationship and develop a new, safe life in America. I’m sorry that you and your siblings were negatively affected by the things you all saw and experienced. Children in violent homes are often the forgotten ones in the situation. Hopefully you and your family are able to experience the healing needed to move forward to prevent unhealthy patterns witnessed to repeat in other relationships.

      Thanks again.

  4. 1 in 4 women have been impacted by domestic violence. It seems unbelievable. Or possibly not talked about enough. I wonder how these statistics break down by background, ex., ethnicity, income status. Or is there any difference?
    I see where there would be reluctance to speak about it for fear of any reprecussions. Woman need to know help is available. Resources can definitely help in decision making.

    1. Your question about differences in demographics is not a simple one. You could write a dissertation about the differences. Research studies vary on their findings, but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there are differences according to race/ethnicity- although not by much amongst some of the groups. Almost 47.5% of American Indian/Alaska Native women, 45.1% of Black women, 37.3% of White women, 34.4% of Hispanic women, and 18.3% of Asian-Pacific Islander women experience contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime (CDC, 2017).

      There are of course other factors that complicate the issue including limited income, limited support, or even perpetrator’s prior involvement with the criminal justice system- a factor more relevant to minority men, of which victims may not want to report abuse to prevent their partner from going to jail again. Many factors contribute to the dynamics of abuse. What is definitely true is that victims of abuse need resources to make an informed decision about where she can go and what she can do if she leaves or if she stays.

  5. This was a well-informing article. I can’t say I was aware of how close the margin was when it came to how many women go through domestic abuse. I personally have not witnessed nor heard stories of someone I know going or have gone through domestic abuse. But, I have heard someone tell me a story from a third party, and it’s just as devastating to hear. I feel there are so many variables when it comes to domestic abuse victims. As you mentioned, fear is definitely one of the factors, the need to survive in any situation that’s detrimental to our safety is always extreme. Self-esteem could also be a major factor as well. I personally struggle with self-esteem, but in terms of trying to love my body. In my mind, I am fully confident in what I deserve and how I should be treated; and I feel that can be a missing link with someone who sadly is and/or was a domestic abuse victim. They might feel like, “yes they have done this (or that) to me” but their insecurities come into full play and they feel nobody else will show them any kind of affection, love or attention and will settle for anything. The mind is complex and can be manipulated, and that makes someone who is self-conscious more susceptible to such inhumane treatment.

    I think we should just try our best to be observant. Because fear is a factor, someone can lie and say they are not being abused when they truly are. It can be hard sometimes, I would assume, because you want to help while also not making them feel like you’re endangering them and possibly yourself by getting involved as well. Overall, nobody deserves this treatment and this should be a conversation not only involving women but men as well; so that this knowledge is universal.

    1. I agree with your point about self-esteem. All too often-believing that they can’t make it without the abuser or the thought that no one else will want them, keeps women from leaving. We all need supportive others in our corner to help us believe we can do anything before us.

      Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow, unfortunately I know this one too well. I grew up witnessing my aunts being abuse and most of the adults trumping it up to it being “ a husband and wife story, or a man and woman story.” I’ve seen the direct impact on the children who grew up in this situation who later had a partner that was physically, mentally and financially abusive to them.
    I’ve learned that when your love one experienced being abuse you support them by letting them know that they have options if they choose to take it but the choice is theirs to make.

    1. Thanks for sharing. It is definitely easier said than done but I agree that in the end, to support those we love means sharing resources with them, but ultimately acknowledging that it is their decision to make whatever choice they decide to make.

  7. Very interesting and inspiring thread here. With domestic violence comes shame, fear and a whole host of emotions. Its important for this types of discussions to exist, even when uncomfortable. I think we tend to forget that there are victims on both sides of domestic violence situations. Something that could have happened to the aggressor he/she could make them act out in this way and something going on in the victim he/she could make them think leaving is not an option. It’s a terribly sad case for both. But with this type of support and conversations, the stigma of DV and the challenges it presents can be defeated.

  8. Thank you for your vulnerability. This topic is especially important as it affects so many women. There really are complicated feeling when observing a victim of domestic abuse. One feeling being that this person should leave and that something is wrong with them. It really is easy to blame the victim because I think of myself personally I would never do that. These complicated feelings do contribute to how must people view domestic violence victims. My questions are how does one help change their own thinking and become more empathetic for domestic abuse victim and how can we help them?

    1. Thanks for your reply. Changing one’s own thinking regardless of its a victim, perpetrator, or bystander of abuse- can be challenging. Think about PSA’s regarding smoking. There are many advertisements on the harmful effects of smoking, but people continue to do so. However, I think if the advertisements reach just one person- they are worth it, because the effects of smoking are devastating- for the individual and their families, not to mention on the healthcare system.

      Education I think is very important- about the dynamics of the abuse, effects on the victim, their families, and society as a whole as well as resources for families affected by domestic violence. Sometimes though- the most powerful thing can be to meet with and talk to a victim (whether the woman herself or her children)- which might very well be someone we either know or will meet at some point since the statistics are 1 in 4 women will be a victim at some point in their lifetime.

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For the Women, Children, & Their Loved Ones Affected By Domestic Violence



In honor of domestic violence awareness month, I would like to share my thoughts on the matter-specifically intimate partner violence against women. Statistics are that 1 in every 4 women will be impacted by domestic violence. That means that if you stand in a circle with three other women, 1 out of the 4 of you will have been impacted by domestic violence. I can tell you that the matter is personal one for me. As a young girl I was particularly impacted by abuse I witnessed between two people I loved. Due to the things that I witnessed, I grew up with anger, confusion, and resentment especially towards one of the persons I love-the woman.  Why? Because I blamed her. I thought why don’t you leave? What’s wrong with you? , can’t you see that this is wrong treatment ?, don’t you value yourself more than that? Later in adulthood, I blamed for her for not being “strong” enough to leave years prior. However, after I began to learn more about domestic violence and how complex it is, I learned it is not the victim’s fault to stay in an abusive relationship. It may be out of necessity, fear of further physical abuse or death, or multiple other reasons she stays or returns back to her abuser. Little resources, shame, blame, experiencing depression or post traumatic stress, not to mention being a mother, or being part of a culture in which abuse is tolerated or condoned, may make it difficult for her to leave. Victim blaming I learned is not only insensitive, but nonsensical, and serves to hurt rather than solve the problem of violence against women.

What about the abuser? What about him causes him to initiate violence and think it’s OK? Culture, societal values, machismo? Maybe he grew up in an abusive home himself and learned that violence is an acceptable way to manage his emotions. Whichever the rationale- violence towards women is wrong and unacceptable on all levels. The devastation it creates is inexplicable-for the victim, their children, and other family members or loved ones. Solutions must be developed and implemented to address abuse- I believe not only on an individual level but on a societal level. The time for discomfort and leaving the matter to be resolved between a couple should be no more.

Despite the disturbing nature of talking about the topic, it exists. We all need to talk more about the ugly that resides behind closed doors, or in the streets-for those brazen enough to do it there. We need each other-both women and men talking about the issue and deciding what will be done about it-if we happen to be or know a victim of abuse. This topic hit home with me a couple of months ago when someone close to me was personally affected by the matter again. The situation surprised me and forced me to deal with the matter. It arose old skeletons in my heart that apparently needed to be dealt with. So deal I did. Considering the fact that I had heard recently of other women on the news whose story ended fatally-I had to speak up and act accordingly with wisdom, but act nonetheless. I still feel the repercussions from my involvement in the matter, but staying quiet was not an option for me. We will all be impacted by domestic violence in one way or the other-if not directly, indirectly; we will at some point come across someone affected by it. It is for all of us to decide what we will do when that time comes.

What are your thoughts on the matter?