Since 1987, the month of October has been recognized worldwide as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will face some form of abuse by a partner in their lifetimes. Women between the ages of 21 and 40 are the most vulnerable group, with 43% of people in this demographic facing some form of abuse. Homicide is the leading cause of death for women under 40, with 74% of all female homicide victims being murdered by a current or former partner.
As is true with all intensely emotional matters, abuse is severely underreported. Each day, approximately 20,000 calls are placed to domestic abuse hotlines in Georgia. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence explains that most abusers and victims are not easily identifiable. 90% of abusers have no criminal record, as they are typically law-abiding citizens outside of the home. Cruelty to animals, abuse of drugs or alcohol, a controlling nature, demeaning or harassing behavior, and antiquated beliefs concerning relationships could be warning signs of abuse. There is no definitive set of traits that can be found for either abusers or victims, however.
Resources on domestic violence, including explanations of the cycle of abuse, can be found at The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website, ncadv.org. If you or someone you know may be suffering abuse, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) can provide confidential, anonymous help.