In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Intimate Partner Violence or Battering)
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year. Less than 20 percent of battered women sought medical treatment following an injury.
I read late into the night Friday to wrap up Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sprinkled throughout the text are references to the number of battered women in Sweden. I wondered what similar stats looked like in the U.S. Why was I surprised that on average three women are murdered per day by their partners?
I do wonder, though, how many women (or men) are verbally abused each day? I think that verbal abuse can be as damaging as physical–it’s just less documented and less noticed. Verbal abuse is rarely reported or punished–it’s so much more difficult to prove and yet, millions of women suffer from the verbal abuse of their husbands daily, men who have enough physical control to not actually reach out and smack their wives but who hit them daily with taunts, insults, and degradations. Verbal abuse wears at the soul and the self-respect. It undermines a woman’s courage and keeps her trapped and humiliated.
Have you ever been in a public place and received a phone call from your husband where he unloads on you? Screaming so loudly that others around you can hear his violence through the phone? Where he’s screaming that you are a worthless, stupid, cunt? It’s an occurrence that you’ll never forget.
Unfortunately this kind of violence happens everyday and no one tracks or records it. Some women finally find the courage to leave and often, their family’s don’t understand. They argue that because there have never been any bruises on your face, that no abuse has occurred. But abuse can occur in many different forms and it would do us all well not to forget it–or forget that women abuse men, too.