Domestic violence is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through physical, sexual, emotional, and/or financial abuse.
Many women choose to stay in an abusive relationship because they do not want the relationship to end, just the violence. Women often remain in, or return to, abusive relationships because their partners threaten to harm them or their loved ones, including their children, if they attempt to leave. Commonly, women choose to leave when they become convinced that their children are in danger.
Domestic violence hurts everyone, crossing all boundaries of age, race, ethnicity, religion, economic background, physical ability, and sexual orientation. According to the CDC, 30% of women in Georgia between the ages of 14 and 44 have been assaulted by a partner at least once.
Many women suffer their first physical attack during pregnancy, and children are present during more than half of dv assaults. Childhood exposure to domestic violence often has adverse effects on child development and well-being. Children who are exposed to DV are at greater risk of developing attachment disorders and emotional disorders that have long-term impacts on their success in relationships. Exposed children are at increased risk for developing depression and anxiety and often demonstrate behavioral problems like aggression, non-compliance in school, and delinquency. Exposure to family violence by age 15 has been associated with impairment in psychological functioning and occupational and career achievement (i.e. unemployment, lower socio-economic status) among adults at age 30. Early childhood DV exposure also triples the likelihood of being a perpetrator or victim of domestic violence in comparison to those not exposed. The damage caused by domestic violence has also been linked to other societal problems such as homelessness, escalated suicide rates, crime, premature births, and miscarriages.
Domestic violence is not just a family matter and it will not stop until men and women come together with a common condemnation of abuse, and a promise that our children will learn through our example that violence is never justified.
For more information about domestic violence and services available for families in the Atlanta, Georgia area, please contact Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence's 24-hour hotline at (404) 688-9436.