We’ve repeatedly heard that one in eight women in the United States is at risk for breast cancer. And while efforts to create breast cancer awareness are strong, there has been far less interest in another key issue that impacts women and children: domestic abuse.
It will probably surprise you to learn that one in every four women in the United States is impacted by physical violence from an intimate partner during her lifetime. I know this to be true as I am one of those women.
When I’ve shared my story, you can see the looks on people’s faces as they realize you can never judge a book – or a woman’s life experience – by its cover. Far more of us are impacted by this than most people think!
In addition to deaths and injuries, physical violence by an intimate partner is linked to multiple adverse health outcomes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Some, such as broken bones, are the direct result of physical violence. Additionally, multiple health conditions have been linked to the impact intimate partner violence has on the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and immune systems through chronic stress or other mechanisms.
Intimate partner violence also impacts the reproductive system, bringing sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and gynecological disorders.
It’s tough to talk about and women who do speak out can put themselves at great risk by doing so. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore this and act like it’s somebody else’s problem.
Domestic violence affects women in every community, in every age group, economic status, race, religion, nationality and economic background. It is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another.
Here at EmpowHER we hear far too often from women who describe what is essentially an assault or other form of domestic violence against them.
They ask what they did wrong, instead of recognizing that they are being violated and are at risk if they remain in the relationship.