Statistics only show part of the picture of domestic violence

Domestic Violence Reality

When it comes down to the subject of domestic violence, there is so much information that it can be overwhelming. People don’t understand what it is or how prevalent it is. So they ask the big question: Why didn’t you leave?

What is Domestic Violence?

Statistics only show part of the picture. Domestic violence is a tough subject to understand. The basic definition of domestic violence calls it “violence or abuse committed against a person by an intimate partner or family member”. But it is much more horrifying than the definition sounds. Sources show just how rampant this is. A table from The National Domestic Violence Hotline at the end of this article shows general statistics and can provide a breakdown of certain categories.

What are the Real Numbers?

With it being such a widespread problem, it’s not a surprise that there is a shortage of help. Statistics show just a small part of the overall picture. Many victims don’t report it, so the real numbers are probably higher. These numbers may cause people to ask “why are so many people staying in these situations”?

Why People Really Don’t Leave

While statistics tell us why people stay in relationships, they don’t always show the emotions behind them. Survivors have reported staying out of fear. The abuser may have convinced them that abuse is normal. They may also fear being outed. Embarrassment or shame, low self-esteem, love, cultural/religious reasons are some of the more common reasons a victim might stay.  Language barriers/immigration status, lack of money/resources, and disabilities also keep some victims in a violent situation.

Can a Victim Really Get Away?

When a victim leaves the relationship, they face an all-new and very dangerous situation. There may not be many protections to help them while they are trying to get away. The abuser may decide they have nothing to lose when they find out the person is leaving. We’ll be looking at what happens when you leave in another article.

How Can We Help?

Domestic violence is not a subject that many people want to discuss, but it needs to be. With awareness becoming more widespread and people stepping up to advocate and support the victims, things can change. Not everyone can provide the same help as experts, but we can all help by not asking survivors why they didn’t leave sooner. That question doesn’t help.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline website provided the following statistics table:
  • On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.[a]
  • Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their< functioning.[ii]
  • Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of IPV that included rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iii]
  • 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime [iv]
  • IPV alone affects more than 12 million people each year.[v]
  • More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[vi]
  • Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).[vii]
  • Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.[viii]
  • From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.[ix]
  • Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.[a]

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