Last week, we discussed some shocking statistics in part 7 of Why Women Stay. Separation violence is a very serious issue and a careful safety plan must be in place. This week I’d like to discuss the last reason (for the series) why women stay in an abusive relationship longer than they’d wish to.
Abused women fear isolation and loneliness. They fear being stalked. They fear manipulation. They fear the court system. They fear loss of income. They fear having their children grow up without a father figure. They fear losing their children to their father.
But, the worst fear of all is they fear for their life.
This is a legitimate fear.
On average, three women are murdered by their intimate partners in the United States every day.1 Of the 2 million women every year who are physically assaulted by their partners, more than 145,000 suffer injuries that require hospitalization.2 As mentioned, many of these injuries come after deciding to separate.
How can we ease her genuine fear? Two important things she needs are counseling and a safety plan. She can get help at her local domestic violence organization. We could drive her there and wait for her. Watch her children while she seeks help. We can listen to her and be her friend.
This is a crisis that affects one in four women in her lifetime.3 Chances are very high that you know someone or will know someone in a situation like this.
Is she your sister, mother, cousin, neighbor, friend?
Is she you?
1) (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.)
3) 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).