I have worked with many women and men who witnessed their family members living in a home where domestic violence was happening. Many of these adults recall being young children and seeing their parents fight, and some remember their father beating their mom to unconsciousness. Unfortunately, many of these same men and women have repeated the same patterns they saw growing up in their families.
Domestic violence is a major issue globally. It knows no culture, social-economic status, and gender. Intimate Partner Violence is any behavior by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual, or mental harm, including domineering or intimidating behaviors. Although, most women are mainly victims of Domestic Violence, men are too victims of domestic violence. Both domestic violence for women and men are underreported to authorities. Men are more likely to not report due to shame, embarrassment, or fear of not being allowed to visit their children. To bring awareness to this issue during this month, as October is Domestic Violence awareness month. I want to point to some risk factors that are associated with Domestic Violence in the household.
- There is an association between drugs, alcohol, and Domestic Violence in the household. For example, most men arrested for domestic violence are intoxicated/high with alcohol and drugs (i.e., Marijuana). It also seems like Marijuana use is most commonly associated with sexual Intimate Partner Violence. It is essential to mention that Domestic Violence increases if both partners use substances. Alcohol also increases delusional jealousy, which increases the likelihood of Intimate Partner Violence.
- Childhood trauma is also associated with Domestic Violence. Research suggests that many of the men and women who are perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence have a trauma history. For example, some research indicates that controlling and domineering behavior in the relationship results from severe childhood trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- A lack of trust, poor communication, and stress are other factors that contribute to domestic violence. For example, a study on immigration and domestic violence suggested that assimilation to a new country could create tension, and those households would suffer from Domestic violence. Even the stress in an early marriage that is not managed well could increase aggression in the relationships down the road. According to a study, partners who didn’t trust their partner would often become aggressive and physically hurt their partners. Aggression increases if the partner doubts its partner’s commitment and sexual fidelity.
As we can note, Domestic Violence is a real issue that plagues our communities. It is estimated that about 40% of households experience this issue. Domestic Violence has severe consequences in the life of the spouse and the children. It leads to mental health disorders (i.e., Major Depressive Disorder), hospitalizations in children, and, if not, stop to future intergenerational violence. So, here are a few suggestions to consider.
- If you are experiencing Intimate Partner Violence or know of anyone experiencing Intimate Partner Violence, please seek help or encourage them to seek help. Please do not wait until it is too late. During Domestic Violence Awareness month, we mourn the women and men who have died from Intimate Partner Violence. Please don’t let it be you or someone you know next.
- Speak out and share your story. We empower other women and men to take steps to freedom by sharing our stories and being vulnerable. It is not easy, it might even feel shameful or embarrassing, but your account could make the difference.
- If you are the perpetrator, I know, many of you don’t want to do what you do. For many is the result of trauma and alcoholism. But you have to own your behavior and must have a desire to grow and change. We can’t live in denial. Let me empower you and tell you to seek help. Change your story and keep your family. Reach out to a therapist, an anger management group program, and your pastor to seek guidance. BREAK THE CYCLE WITH YOU!
Suppose you live in Illinois and would like to work with me or someone on my team. Please reach out to me. We are here to help you.
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This article is purely psychoeducational, and it is not a substitute for professional counseling services by a licensed mental health professional. If you are currently in an emergency, please go to your nearest emergency room or call 911.