Understanding domestic abuse, getting out the word that there is effective psychotherapy for healing from abuse and continued education on when to seek mental health treatment for abuse continue to be crucial elements in ending this destructive cycle that can impact everyone involved. Also, it is common for abuse and its related responses from those involved to be repeated often becoming a multi-generational family and societal problem that can be deadly.
A Few Current Statistics on Domestic Abuse Here in the U.S.
The statistics on domestic abuse in this country are terrifying. It is estimated that at least 1 in 5 women today has been raped in their lifetime, whereas 1 in 71 men in the US have been raped or sexually assaulted. Up to 43.5% of men report being stalked by a former or current intimate partner. All of these figures are thought to be much higher due to abuse being under reported. This is because many victims of abuse are unable or otherwise won’t report their abuse to law enforcement or even other professionals able to help.
A Strong Warning by a Local Raleigh Based Psychotherapy Clinic
A leading psychiatrist in the Raleigh and Briar Creek area of North Carolina cautions that without intervention, many of those unreported abuse victims, and those who already have sought help, may continue to be abused and may become severely injured and even die as a result of their abuse. This abuse is often close meaning it is often at the hands of a family member, spouse or other person close to them.
Abuse Can Be Difficult To Spot & Assess Properly
Mental health and abuse specialists say that abuse can be difficult to spot and assess properly to the untrained eye. Furthermore, even the professionals have difficulties in identifying abuse for a number of reasons. Also, those living in abusive situations may not even be aware that they are being abused. This is often true for those being subject to more covert types of emotional and mental types of abuse. Many people only think to consider abuse if it is of a violent physical or sexual nature.
Even with these more severe forms of abuse, it can still be difficult for family, friends, and even professionals to spot. Some of the reasons include:
- Fear – by abused & those close to the situation
- Not Knowing the Signs
- Embarrassment – individuals suffering from abuse often show embarrassment to speak up
- Isolation by Abuser – abusers often control victims by alienating them from anyone able to help
- Lack of Education Regarding Abuse – cultural differences, religious teachings, and societal expectations play a huge role in abuse going unreported
- Lack of Evidence – police often need proof to file charges or protection from abuse orders
- Status of the Abused & Abuser – often, the abuser controls finances, has a better job, or controls basic everyday needs such as food, shelter, vehicle, etc.
- Access to Help – abuse is often difficult to report in rural and isolated areas
- Age, Sex, Education, Race & Other Factors Play a Role in Abuse Reporting Statistics
How to Help a Victim of Domestic Abuse
Most victims of domestic abuse feel that their situation is never going to end. For all sorts of reasons, many abuse victims do not relay their situation to family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and others. Also, sometimes, the signs of abuse are visible or suspect by others in the person’s circle. Here is how to help a victim of domestic abuse according to a Triangle Area psychiatry practice.
- Make an Effort to Spend More Time with Them
- Listen without Judgement
- Learn the Warning Signs of Abuse
- Start a Conversation Gently
- Validate & Believe the Victim
- Offer Support When Able
- Help the Victim Make a Safety Plan
- Seek Advice from a Mental Health and/or Abuse Professional
Your interventions could save a life and stop abuse from continuing. Also, remember that children, older adults, those with disabilities, and men in abusive situations often have greater needs for support and intervention, as they may be more vulnerable and have limited means to escape their abuse.
There Is Hope
Professional and compassionate psychotherapy can help victims heal from the scars of abuse. Seeking mental health treatment for abuse should be the goal of every abuse victim when able. Also. developing a safety plan, getting help from community domestic abuse agencies, and taking baby steps towards healing is very possible.
Lastly, Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for assistance.