Domestic violence: Know when to leave and seek assistance

Domestic violence: Know when to leave and seek assistance

Isabell Rivera and Lisa Fitch OW Contributors | 9/20/2019, midnight
An estimated 1.3 million American women..

An estimated 1.3 million American women experience domestic violence or intimate partner violence each year. Women make up 85 percent of the victims of domestic violence, and some of these cases are never reported to the police, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that violence performed by an intimate partner is often more fatal for Black women than White women.

All social backgrounds are effected

According to the Jenesse Center Inc., a nationally recognized, non-profit, domestic violence prevention and intervention organization in South Los Angeles, domestic violence takes many forms and includes many factors, some of which encourage conditions that may keep a woman psychologically insecure, economically dependent, and socially isolated.

Some women may find themselves in abusive relationships with men who show signs of “toxic masculinity,” a term which describes men who are socially dominant, controlling and homophobic. These men demonstrate traits of misogyny as well as physical violence.

These types of men don’t see sex as an act of intimacy and affection, but rather as method of domination.

If “toxic masculine” men feel disrespected or lose power and control, they tend to dominate their women to make it clear they are the “king of the castle.”

Unfortunately, it is estimated that a woman will leave and go back to her abuser six or seven times before she leaves for good. 

Every situation is different

“There’s a variety of reasons, depending on the circumstances, everyone’s situation is different. Sometimes there are kids involved,” said Jazmin Carter, who works at the Jenesse Center.

“They (women) may have never worked before or not have the education, or financial security. There’s psychological and emotional abuse, where their self-esteem is very low, so they think they won’t find anyone else. Each situation is different.”

Zoe Flowers, a domestic violence activist and writer for the Huffington Post, writes about her own experiences with abuse and shares the experiences of other women in her book “From Ashes to Angel’s Dust: A Journey to Womanhood.”

“In many cases, we don’t ask for help because we have internalized this idea that we need to be strong,” Flowers said. “This idea of 'strong Black women' is rewarded and is something that can even be a source of resilience. But, it can also leave us feeling like we have no one to turn to.”

There are several theories on the origins of domestic aggression. Some men were taught at a young age to hide their emotions. Oftentimes, these distorted emotions turn into uncontrolled anger towards their partner.

The abuser was often abused as child

It’s not uncommon that many violent men experienced physical abuse themselves from their parents or caregivers when they were young.

Another theory suggests that men who have been incarcerated adapted a “toxic masculinity,” because while they were in the prison system the only choices were either being dominant or being subugated. 

Domestic abusers are protected in many communities. It is frowned upon in some communities to “badmouth” a partner or “snitch“ on a neighbor or relative by calling the police and landing someone in jail.