Domestic violence is more common than we think

According to some national statistics, domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or abusive behavior, as part of a systematic pattern of behavior of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.

It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.

Here in Hawaii, the Asian and Pacific Islander communities experience domestic violence at a much higher rate than the general population.

Sixty-one percent of Asian women report experiencing domestic violence as compared to 20 percent for white, African-American and Latino communities.

In Hawaii, domestic violence programs serve, in a typical day, over 500 victims, even though over 40 percent of the programs report being underfunded. One in seven women in Hawaii has been raped in her lifetime.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a societal scourge that needs increased the attention and education of the community in order for it to end.

Although anyone can become a victim of domestic violence or intimate partner violence, women are still more likely to be subjected to domestic violence than men.

People from all economic and cultural backgrounds can be subjected to domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Awareness Project supports the rights of all individuals, especially women and girls to live in peace and with dignity.

The purpose of the DVAP is to support and promote, national, tribal, territorial, state and local advocacy networks in ongoing public education efforts in an effort to change belief systems and practices that support violence and abuse.

The DVAP promotes the participation of the entire community to establishing social intolerance to domestic violence and to promote safe, respectful and equitable relationships. The DVAP fosters programs that are responsive to the needs of survivors of abuse, the elderly, the deaf and other marginalized individuals who have been victimized.

One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year in the U.S. and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to the violence.

The economic impact of domestic abuse includes approximately 8 million days lost of paid work each year.

And remember this is just the tip of the iceberg, as many cases are never reported. This reported impact economically is estimated to be over $8.3 billion per year. Further, somewhere between 20 to 60 percent of victims of domestic abuse lose their jobs from reasons stemming from their victimization.

Women abused by their intimate partner are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, both from forced intercourse and also because their immune systems are compromised because of prolonged stress.

Research has indicated that there is a correlation between domestic violence and victim depression and suicide. Physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health ca suffer. Negative health effects that have been linked to domestic abuse include teenage pregnancy, unintended pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal issues, neurological disorders chronic pain and disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Victims of domestic violence are at greater risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco and drugs, according to the DVAP.

Among teenagers there is an off spin of domestic violence in dating violence which is reported in approximately 21 percent of female high school students and approximately 13 percent male students being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

This results in a known figure of 1.5 million high school aged teens that are abused by their dating partners every year. A study conducted in 2013 found that 35 percent of 10th graders had been either physically of verbally assaulted by their dating partners and 31 percent were perpetrators of this type of violence.

A 2014 study noted that 10 percent of teenage students in dating relationships were coerced into sexual intercourse. Another 2013 study noted that 26 percent of teens in relationships were victims of cyber dating abuse, with females twice as likely to be victimized as males.

Only 33 percent of teenage dating abuse victims tell of their experiences, and of those who did report such incidents, 50 percent also report attempting suicide. Domestic violence is most common among women between the ages of 18 to 24.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Hawaii is 1-800-799-7233.

For further information on domestic violence and particularly on how it might affect children and teens, please tune in to Ho’ike TV channel 54 cable in October to my TV program on Community Camera, every weekday around 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m., to watch my informative interview with local authority Melinda Montgomery.

Montgomery operates Hale Kipa in order to help teens and young people at risk for drug and alcohol addiction.

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Dr. Jane Riley, EdD., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser, behavior change specialist. she can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-8119 cell/text and www.janerileyfitness.com.

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