by Kimberly Allen, RN
After the incident in Kansas City where a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs shot and killed his girlfriend domestic violence is in the spot light again. In the Us a woman is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds. Everyday, at least 3 women are killed by their spouses or boyfriends in the US. Domestic violence is the number one cause of injury to women. Studies have shown that approximately 5 million children in the US will witness some type of domestic violence every year and that at least 1 in 5 teenage girls have been in a relationship where they have been threatened with violence by a boyfriend. Domestic violence also has a significant economic impact. Domestic violence costs over $4 billion every year in medical costs and another $2 billion in lost work and productivity. In the US victims of domestic violence lose approximately 8 million days of paid work which is the same as 32,000 full-time jobs.
Domestic violence has many forms, the most visible and well known is the physical aggression or physical abuse, but there are also many other less noticeable forms of domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family , or cohabitation”. This includes the threat of violence, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, controlling or domineering behaviors as well as neglect and economic deprivation. Other situations that are included in domestic violence are stalking and harassment, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment as well as criminal coercion.
Domestic violence can occur to anyone at anytime. It does not discriminate against age, race, religion, gender, and/or sexual orientation as well as socioeconomic status or education level. Which is demonstrated by the number of NFL players that have been involved in domestic violence. According to at least one survey of the 32 NFL teams 21 have at least one player that has been charged with some form of domestic violence. And these guys make a lot of money so for those that are always telling me that domestic violence is a problem in the lower socioeconomic groups it’s time to wake up. However, domestic violence is not just in the NFL, it’s in all sports, professional and college. Yes even college sports are affected by domestic violence. There are many theories as to why athletes are prone to domestic violence including the idea that playing in contact sports can cause the players to become abusive. However, after reviewing the literature on male athletes and violence the Northeastern University’s Sport Society group determined there is no evidence that contact sports leads to violent behavior.
The effects of domestic violence are felt by all involved, especially the children. In addition to the obvious issue of growing up not only without parents but knowing that one killed the other and then took his own life like the daughter of Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher will children of domestic violence face emotional, social and behavioral problems. There has also been a correlation between experiencing abuse and/or neglect as children and them committing domestic violence in adulthood. Children that are witnesses to their mother being assaulted tend to develop PTSD.
Domestic violence is a crime and should be reported, yet it is frequently denied, overlooked and excused, especially if the abuse is psychological instead of physical. No one, no matter what age, sex or race should live in fear of someone they love. So if you or someone you know is being abused in any way there is help available, reach out. It can save your life or the life of someone you know.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.