Lost in the headlines about the historic presidential election and the stock market meltdown is the fact that October is the month dedicated to becoming aware of and controlling domestic violence. The irony is that the financial shock waves that have been rocketing throughout the world are likely to increase the prevalence of abuse. The economic turmoil will undoubtedly lead to greater fears, pressure and anxiety within families facing financial collapse – and, in many cases, that stress will lead to battering. Sandwiched Boomers, already dealing with the enormous strains of caring for growing children and aging parents, may be especially vulnerable.
The Centers for Disease Control believes that 10% of the population is affected by domestic abuse, although it is estimated that only one-third of these cases are actually reported. It is the most common cause of injury for women ages 15 to 44 who suffer physical as well as emotional injury, such as depression, anxiety and social isolation. If you, or someone you know, are the victim of domestic abuse, this may be the time to begin the long process of extricating yourself.
Why do women remain in abusive relationships? Frequently, the reason is fear – they have been brainwashed by the perpetrator – convinced that they are helpless and cannot cope alone. Or they’re afraid that the abusive partner will harm them or their children if they attempt to leave. Another justification is the victims’ incorrect belief that the responsibility is theirs, that they have caused the abuse or that it is up to them to stay in order to keep the family together. Finally, because of a variety of psychological issues and complicated family dynamics, the defense mechanism of denial can remain strong. Domestic abuse victims often refuse to see themselves as battered and don’t accept the fact that the perpetrator will continue the abusive behavior.
Stay in touch this week as we give you some options to help you take better care of yourself. And let us hear from you if you have dealt with this personal crisis before.