Stats on violence paint a grim picture

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, July 25, 2007

There is no denying that the statistics on violence in families paint a grim picture. Even by the most conservative estimates, domestic violence is a national tragedy of staggering proportions. Each year, literally millions of women are wounded, crippled, disfigured, traumatized and maimed by male partners – or they die.

Domestic violence is not only a leading cause of injury, but also an increasing cause of chronic medical and mental illness. The damage wrought by domestic violence extends far beyond the walls of home. It exacts a tremendous cost to health care, criminal justice, social services, lost productivity, and perhaps most costly of all, the physical, emotional, behavioral damage it inflicts on the children who grow up in a home where the monsters are real.

Domestic violence is also a major cause of disability, homelessness, addiction, and attempted suicide. Thus, domestic violence commands a substantial proportion of a community’s health, criminal justice, and social service resources.

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Each year, at least fifteen hundred women are killed by a current or former husband or boyfriend. According to FBI data, four women a day are murdered by a male partner. Studies of women killed by a husband or boyfriend show that 90 percent of the victims had reported at least one prior incident of abuse. The average number of calls to a scene before a domestic homicide is eight.

Up to six million women are believed to be beaten in their homes each year. Four million incidents are reported. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that up to 90 percent of battered women never report their abuse.

Women who have divorced or separated from their abusers report being battered fourteen times as often as those still living with their partners. It is estimated that 73 percent of emergency room visits, and up to 75 percent of calls to the police for domestic violence incidents occur after separation.

According to the American Medical Association, family violence kills as many women every five years as the total number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for women ages fifteen to twenty-four.

One million women a year visit physicians and hospital emergency rooms for treatment of injuries caused by beating. According to the National Centers for Disease Control, more women are treated in emergency rooms for battering injuries than for muggings, rape, and traffic accidents combined.

At SMMHC’s Alcohol & Drug Office, we have solutions for problems with substance abuse and anger. For more information, contact Carolene Britt, LAC, CADC, 200 S. Wall Street, Natchez, Miss. 39121 or call 601-446-6635.

Carolene Britt

Natchez resident