- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime;
- 1 in 10 women in the U.S. will be raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime and approximately 16.9% of women and 8% of men will experience sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner at some point in their life. Data on sexual violence against men may be under-reported.
- An estimated 10.7% of women and 2.1% of men have been stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- Nearly half of all women and men in the U.S. will experience psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 4 in 10 women of non-Hispanic Black, American Indian or Alaska Native race/ethnicity and 1 in 2 multi-racial non-Hispanic women have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 2 in 5 lesbian women, 3 in 5 bisexual women and 1 in 3 heterosexual women will experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 4 gay men, 1 in 3 bisexual men and 3 in 10 heterosexual men will experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 bisexual women and 1 in 10 heterosexual women will be raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Those staggering statistics impact more women and mothers than you know. While I don’t want to exclude the overwhelming number of men included in the preceding statistics, I’d like to focus your attention on any grandmother, neighbor, co-worker, mother, sister, niece, cousin, senior, child or Godparent you know. Chances are you know someone who has either been affected or is currently impacted by domestic violence.
This month is unique in that while working with an honoree for the month of April, I came to learn just how stigmatizing, sensitive and personal this topic really is. It began with the doubt that her story was “worthy enough after reading everyone else’s” story.
I couldn’t believe she would feel that way, but then again don’t we all question the worthiness of our stories? Don’t we all question if they “measure up” and will be received with the acceptance we all desperately need and cling onto? There are millions of stories about domestic violence that not only need to be heard, but deserve to be heard. Silence is consent and if everyone remains silent about the impact and empowerment of their story, than more people will continue to suffer.
Domestic violence continues to be a taboo subject wrapped in veils of shame, judgment, control and fear. It continues to a significant cause for family violence and divorce; yet so many families are hiding behind closed doors out of fear of being alienated, ostracized or further oppressed. It’s an issue in our country that does not discriminate against one’s race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, place of origin, religion or socio-economic status. It doesn’t care how educated you are, what job you have, what neighborhood you live in or what social group you ascribe to.
While corresponding about one woman’s story, it became evident that fear and hesitancy still rumbled beneath the surface. That’s what survivors of domestic violence experience. The need to be heard and exonerate what has happened to them; while still questioning where the story has a place in their healing. What I have come to learn from working with domestic violence survivors and the dialogue for this month’s honoree is that the wounds are deeply sensitive. The stigma, fear and shame are real whether you’re living with the perpetrator or not. It was decided that Resurrected Together was not the right fit or timing to publicize her story, but I wanted the subject matter to still have the platform and recognition it deserves.
This month, I honor all of you women and mothers who are suffering in silence, shackled by shame and a sense of powerlessness. I want you to know that there is help out there and you don’t have to go through this alone. I also want to draw attention to the rest of you out there who question if you know someone who is a victim of domestic violence. It could be your neighbor, someone you run into at preschool, a child you’re working with or even your friend. For those of you who have survived and/or continue to keep on push’in on, I am proud to stand with you.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence please refer to the following resources. It could not only save a family, but save a life:
You can call 1-800-621-HOPE through Safe Horizon.
To find a domestic violence shelter near you, visit www.domesticshelters.org.
The national hotline number and information on Substance Abuse and Mental Health at 1-800-662-HELP or www.samhsa.org
In Love & Truth,