Domestic violence statistics are harrowing: the American Medical Association estimates that 1 in 4 women will be the victims of abuse at some point during their lifetimes. Every year, about 2,000,000 women are battered in the United States alone. About 1,500 women are murdered every year by an abusive partner or spouse. Approximately 25 percent of female suicides were physically, sexually or emotionally abused.
Domestic abuse strikes women of all colors and creeds, from all educational and social backgrounds and all income levels. It is indiscriminant. It can happen to just about anyone, which is part of what makes it so frightening. Regardless of how many times the abuser apologizes and promises never to do it again, experts almost universally agree: the cycle of domestic abuse doesn't end until the victim leaves and doesn't come back to the relationship.
Every indication suggests that spousal abuse is a constant, if not growing, problem. So what can a victim do to escape a dangerous and abusive situation?
According to domestic violence statistics, women in abusive relationships leave an average of five to seven times before the separation becomes permanent. More encouragingly, though, figures show that 75 percent of all women in an abusive situation eventually escape it.
It's important for women to realize that there are resources at their disposal that can help them escape. However, committing to using them is quite another story. Experts stress the need to approach the problem in small steps; women who simply up and leave wind up going back to the relationship far more often than women who have taken the time to plan their escapes.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help. It's free and confidential to call; if you need privacy, place the call from a public telephone when you're out of the house on an errand. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Many communities have domestic violence shelters set up, which provide women with accommodations and resources to help them get out of abusive relationships. The professionals at the National Domestic Violence Hotline can connect you with services in your area.
Child protection services, mental health counseling and legal help are also commonly available to victims of domestic violence, either at a low cost or free of charge. When you reach out for help, you'll find a network of experienced and compassionate professionals waiting to show you the path to a better life. If you or someone you care about is a victim of domestic violence, reach out today – the help you need is only a phone call away.