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No one chooses to be abused yet millions of women and men, both young and old, are victims of domestic violence every year in this country. According to The National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC), abuse can take many forms; it can be physical, emotional and even financial, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Here is a look at some of the different types of abuse.
According to NWHIC, domestic violence or intimate partner violence is the most frequent type of violence against women. NWHIC defines this type of domestic violence as abuse that is committed by a current or past spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. The abuse can come in many forms. It can be actual or threatened physical or sexual assault, as well as emotional or verbal abuse. Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can affect people of all racial backgrounds, ages and economic situations. NWHIC says 1 out of 4 American women report having been raped or assaulted by an intimate partner and an estimated one million women are stalked every year in this country.
While nearly 1.5 million women are victims of intimate partner violence each year, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) says men are also victims of rape and physical assault. According to NCIPC, more than 800-thousand men are raped or physically assaulted by someone they know every year. In fact, one out of every 14 U.S. men reported such an experience.
Close to a million children are abused or neglected each year according to the latest government statistics. The majority involve cases of neglect. About 1,300 children die of abuse or neglect each year. Violence against mothers by their intimate partners is a serious risk factor for child abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 50 percent of children, whose mothers are abused, are abused themselves. The child may be abused by the mother's intimate partner or by the battered mother. Some studies have shown that each additional act of violence toward a spouse increases the probability of the violent spouse also being abusive to the child, particularly for fathers. Women who were the most chronically violent to their spouse had a 38 percent probability of also physically abusing a male child, the gender most often physically abused. However, the most chronically violent husbands had a nearly 100 percent probability of also physically abusing their male children.
While there is no justification for domestic violence, NCIPC says there are several risk factors associated with violence between intimate partners. Here is a look at some factors that could increase the risk of someone becoming a physical, sexual or emotional abuser:
The physical and emotional consequences of domestic violence can be far reaching for the victim. Even after the physical scars have faded, the emotional trauma can last a lifetime. NWHIC says victims can become increasingly stressed, suffer from depression, a lowered self-esteem and post-traumatic stress disorder. (Read about "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder")
If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can contact your healthcare provider for more information. For immediate help and support, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
Dating violence encompasses crimes such as sexual assault and physical violence by someone you are dating. Verbal or emotional abuse are two other types of dating violence. According to NWHIC, it occurs not only in serious relationships, but casual ones as well. The problem, according to NWHIC, is that most cases of dating violence are not reported to authorities.
NWHIC says the majority of date rape cases involve voluntary drug and/or alcohol use by the victim and the abuser. The use of so-called date rape drugs has also become a widespread problem, according to NWHIC. The drugs, like flunitrazepam, which is known as Rohypnol or roofies, are often slipped into a victim's drink. They impair memory and immobilize the victim. In these cases, the victim may wake up not even knowing what has taken place.
According to NCIPC, dating violence is not a rare occurrence. Estimates vary however because many studies and surveys use different methods and definitions of the problem. The agency does say that nearly half of the 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults reported to police by women were committed by someone they knew.
If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of dating violence, you can contact your healthcare provider for more information. For immediate help and support, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
Somewhere in this country, a female is raped every 2 minutes. That's according to NWHIC. Though less common, males can be the victims of rape also.
NWHIC says sexual assault can include the following:
Research shows that 1 in 6 women has been sexually assaulted or abused in her lifetime. Just like intimate partner violence and date rape, sexual assault affects women of all ages, races and economic status.
The consequences of such a serious crime can be depression or other mental health problems (Read about "Depressive Illnesses" "Mental Health"), according to NWHIC. In fact, about a third of the victims of sexual abuse and assault suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. This emotional state of discomfort and stress stems from the memories of a disturbing event.
If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault or rape, you can contact your healthcare provider for more information. For immediate help and support, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) defines elder abuse as any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person. While estimates vary on the extent of elder abuse, NCPEA believes roughly 4 to 6 percent of the elderly are abused in some way. The Administration on Aging (AOA) says there is no federal law on elder abuse in the United States. Individual states have their own laws for reporting, investigating and prosecuting this type of abuse.
According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than two-thirds of elder abuse perpetrators are the victim's own family members. NCEA says elder abuse can be divided into the following categories:
According to AARP, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of elder abuse:
If you believe you or someone you know might be the victim of elder abuse, you can contact your healthcare provider. In most states, you can also find help through the Adult Protective Services Agency (APS). The Area Agency on Aging or the county Department of Social Services should also be able to receive and investigate reports of elder abuse. For immediate help and support, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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