The country of India is up in arms over the recent gang rape of a young woman on a public bus.  She was assaulted with a metal rod and beaten, left for dead on the side of the road.  She did, in fact, die 2 weeks later of injuries sustained during the attack.  She has brought renewed vigor to a national conversation about the violence against women that is prevalent in Indian society.  Women- and men- across the globe mourn the loss of a promising young life and the violent way in which it was taken.

 

We in the United States do not have to look so far from home to see that similar violence toward women is present in our own society.  It is, in fact, present in every human society on this planet.  It is unique in that it crosses all age groups, socioeconomic classes and geographies across the globe.  

 

The statistics, when you examine them, are alarming.[1][2]

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
  • 1 in 5 women will be the victim of a sexual assault while in college
  • 1 in 10 teens will be hurt on purpose by someone who they are dating
  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

 

What can we do about this? 

  1.  As parents, talk to your adolescent and teen children.  Discuss the prevalence of this issue and the fact that abuse in any relationship is not okay.
  2. Know the warning signs.  There is a great website: www.loveisnotabuse.com that reviews common signs.
  3. Talk to your health care provider.  Often times a health care provider’s office is the safest place to discuss concerns.  We will not judge you and will maintain absolute confidentiality.

 

Violence against women, domestic violence included, is a problem that is multifaceted in its reasons for occurrence, and thus one that is not easily solved.  Non tolerance of violence against women should be the standard of every citizen of our country