Battering is extremely common. A
woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States. More woman are injured
each year in the U.S. as a result of domestic violence than from car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
crosses all socio-economic levels. Batterers can be ministers, teachers,
politicians, judges, prosecutors, CEO's,
and police officers. Reporting rates among lower income families
may be slightly higher because they are more accustomed to involving the
police in their problems.
very much in-control behavior. The
appearance of being out of control is a technique used for instilling
fear and compliance. Recent research actually shows that men who batter
actually have a lowering of blood pressure and heart rate during an
apparent out-of-control incident.
95% of the
reported victims are female. Clearly there are male victims and the reporting
rates among men are very low. However, when a female is the abuser, you
typically have a battering without the power and control issues that are central
to domestic violence.
Battering is a
pattern, a reign of force and terror. Once violence begins in a relationship, it
gets worse and more frequent over a
period of time. Battering is not just one physical attack. It is a
number of tactics (intimidation, threats, economic deprivation,
psychological and sexual abuse) used repeatedly. Physical violence is one
of those tactics. Experts have compared methods used by batterers to
those used by terrorists to brainwash hostages. This is called the
women leave their abusers permanently, and
despite many obstacles, succeed in building a life free of
violence. Almost all battered
women leave at least once. Women are at a 75% greater
risk of being killed once they leave the relationship. Thus, staying
with the abuser and implementing a safety plan for leaving may be the
Most people blame
the victim of battering for the crime,
some without realizing it. They expect the woman to stop the violence, and
repeatedly analyze her motivations for
not leaving, rather than scrutinizing why the batterer
keeps beating her, and why the community allows it.
Abusers often use drinking as one of many excuses for
violence, and as a way of putting responsibility for their
violence elsewhere. There is a
50%, or higher, correlation between substance abuse and
domestic violence, but no casual relationship. Stopping the assailant's
drinking will not end the violence. Both problems must be addressed
Many people who
are under extreme stress do not assault their partners. Assailants who are
stressed at work do not attack their co-workers or
traditionally been reluctant to respond to domestic assaults,
or to intervene in what they think of as a private matter. Police
have usually temporarily separated the couple, leaving the woman
vulnerable to further violence. Laws have been improved; however, there
is still considerable change needed in law enforcement agencies.
At least 70% of
men who batter their wives, sexually or physically abuse their
children. All children suffer from
witnessing their father assault their mother.
Battered women considering
leaving their assailants are faced with the very real
possibility of severe physical damage or even death.
Assailants deliberately isolate their partners and deprive them of jobs, of
opportunities for acquiring education and job skills. This combined
with unequal opportunities for women in general and lack of affordable
child care, make it excruciatingly difficult for women to leave.