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  • Writer's pictureMegan Stuke

Domestic Violence: Facts

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

A painting consisting of thick strokes of bold color, with the top half covered in shades of red, and along the left side some brown, blue, and yellow make what may be the form of a person.  The bottom is painted in shakes of brown and black, almost like waves lapping at the figure and the shades of red.
A work of Survivor Art from The Willow's Empowering Voices exhibition, October 2018

We as a society fail to understand the impact caused by domestic violence (DV), and fail to examine what domestic violence looks like in our families, communities, and county. The mythology and misinformation is overwhelming to many of us in this work. At the Willow, we spend tremendous energy and resource educating the community about the facts vs. the fiction of our work because until there is an understanding of the scope of the problem, there cannot be true and lasting change. Here are some of the things we hope folks will begin to absorb as fact over the common fictions in our collective narratives.

1) FACT: DV is about power and control. It is not about addiction, poverty, genetics, anger management, or a love of drama. While we know that substance abuse acts like gas on a fire of interpersonal violence, it is not the cause. The cause is, always, a need for power and control over another person. It is about imposing one's will upon another. It is about entitlement. 

2) FACT: DV can happen to anyone. Anyone. It is not reserved for certain populations, folks in poverty, people of color, or any other group. It is everyone, everywhere happening all around us. It affects every community, every school, every neighborhood regardless of socioeconomic status, race, creed, sex, or gender.

3) FACT: DV is a crime. It is not something that is a personal matter that needs to be hidden away or dealt with privately. It is a matter of concern for all citizens, all people, and all levels of law enforcement, court, and policy.

4) FACT: Abusers come in all walks of life. Prominent, socially conscious, wealthy, friendly, and charming persons can and often are abusers. What one sees on the outside is almost no indication at all of their capacity to abuse their families at home.

5) FACT: Couples counseling does not help in abusive situations. It does not "take two to tango." Accountability on the part of the abuser is the only way forward. Victims need not take any blame or responsibility for having been abused.

6) FACT: Leaving is not always the answer. "Why don't they just leave" is typically the first question from the outsider's perspective. Statistically, victims of abuse are 70 times more likely to be murdered by their partners within the first three months after leaving. Staying is often a matter of survival.

7) FACT: Not all DV is physical. Verbal, emotional, and financial abuse can be equally as devastating. Keeping a survivor emotionally or financially dependant is a common tactic used by abusers to ensure that they are unable to leave, even if they wish to.

8) FACT: DV is an epidemic. It is urgent. It is a national crisis.  The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that same time was 11,766. For more facts, information, or to book a presentation, please contact us. We'd be happy to discuss both the scope of the DV problem, and what we at The Willow do to empower survivors in crisis, and prevent the cycle of violence from continuing forward.

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