With the media frenzy surrounding the Chris Brown and Rihanna saga, it's been a little difficult to escape the gossip surrounding the couple. If you haven't heard, Chris Brown allegedly beat up his long time girlfriend Rihanna in a domestic dispute early Sunday morning. I think that this issue is extremely important and awareness of domestic violence needs to be raised.
Domestic violence is defined by Wikipedia as occurring when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners. Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by both men and women. Domestic violence can be in many forms including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, threats, or intimidation.
Emotional, financial, and psychological abuse are not considered criminal, but would be viewed in court as showing a history of abusive behavior should it become necessary to take someone to court for domestic violence. Women and men can be victims of domestic violence, but women are more often the victims. Please be aware that domestic violence is not considered a persons lack of control. For example, the abuser threatens violence while arguing with their partner. Domestic violence is often a deliberate choice that one person makes to break and control their partner or spouse over a long period of time.
Abusive partners will often use humiliation and/or isolation to control their partner. They will often make threats to exert their dominance. Abusers are very good at excusing away their behavior. They will blame a bad day at work or even a bad childhood. They also seek to blame shift and justify the abuse to the partner they're seeking to control.
A victim of domestic violence often feels desperate to escape their situation, but feel helpless to do so. There's often depression or self loathing. There could be frequent absences from work or school or various injuries that are from "accidents". Personality changes and fear of their partner are also common signs.
It is impossible to know what goes on behind closed doors, and if you're worried about getting involved please remember that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women every year. 5.3 million women are abused each year and 1,232 women are killed by someone they're intimate with. I have a friend who was robbed in a parking lot in broad daylight and everybody in the parking lot let it happen because they saw the man strike my friend in the face and assumed it was a domestic dispute. Nobody called the cops as my friend screamed or fell to the ground. Nobody cared that her toddler was in the vehicle and watched her mother get punched in the face. They assumed it was a husband and wife issue and they needed to work it out for themselves. I think that is extremely sad and shameful that our society has fostered a blind eye mentality. Please watch out for each other. You could save a life. Again, domestic violence does not discriminate between male, female, age, heterosexual, homosexual, or race. It affects everyone and you can do something about it.
Here are some resources if you ever need to report domestic violence or you would like more information:
American Institute on Domestic Violence
Ruidoso, New Mexico
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence