As we honor and close out Domestic Violence Awareness month, Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) presents a perspective from an alumni whose work directly assists impacted individuals and families. The fallout from domestic and sexual violence is devastating, and those affected need help.
“Walk a Mile in My Shoes”
Domestic Violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and other abusive behavior as a part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This abuse includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and economic and emotional /psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence vary dramatically.
Domestic violence is steadily rising, with an uptick in casualties and undocumented collateral damage of those left behind. Studies show that an average of nearly 20 people are physically abused per minute. The various forms of domestic violence are hidden in plain view but tend to become visible in the confines of spaces deemed to be safe to most.
There’s a horrifying prevalence of this familial warfare where an unknown number of primary and secondary victims are subjected to various forms of mental, physical, psychological, and financial abuse. The NCADV indicates that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience some form of physical abuse; unfortunately, we cannot find comfort in those numbers because 2 out of 3 never report to authorities, service providers, or family.
In a study conducted in 1992, 10 out of 20 women interviewed reported being assaulted during pregnancy. The victim’s ages varied; however, data indicates that the primary age range of women tends to be within childbearing years. These assaults possibly psychologically impacted the victims and their unborn fetuses. This is an intersection of traumatic prenatal exposure. Unfortunately, statistics are limited on child victims’ exposure during these episodes.
Psychologically, the power of parental influence leaves us struggling with ourselves and trapped in a vicious cycle. An undetermined number of women, men, or children in the cycle of domestic violence are overwhelmed by fear, shame, powerlessness, and lack of support and resources.
We must empower and validate them to transition human vulnerability into pleasant existence.
Guest Blogger: Carol Adams, LMR ‘21, Richmond Police Officer and founder of The Carol Adams Foundation.