A closer look at domestic violence and its consequences: Part I

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We recently wrote about the issue of domestic violence as it related to professional football players. The NFL has received significant criticism for failing to properly punish players who have been criminally charged with domestic violence against their wives, girlfriends and children.

Because October is a time to really dig into this topic, this week’s posts will be focused on expanding public awareness about domestic violence by addressing some common misconceptions. The first is the myth that domestic violence is solely a women’s issue.

It would be easy to think that women are the only victims of intimate-partner violence and men the only perpetrators. But this isn’t true. Statistics show that women are more likely to become victims than men are, and this is one of many reasons why community resources tend to be focused on helping female victims.

However, men suffer domestic violence as well. And because of the misconception that women are the only victims, male victims often have a more difficult time reaching out for and receiving help.

Domestic violence is both women’s and men’s issue. But it is also a children’s issue. When one parent in a household is abusive to the other, children are often victimized as well – physically, psychologically or both.

Even when children are not the targets of violence, they cannot help but witness it. This is psychologically scarring in and of itself. But studies have also shown that without intervention, children who witness domestic violence are more likely to repeat this cycle when they grow up – either as victims or perpetrators.

Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.

Source: The Good Men Project, “2 Domestic Violence Myths Busted,” Sarafina Bianco, Oct. 6, 2014

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