Let’s talk about it: What is Domestic Violence?

The United Nations refers to domestic violence “as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.” This type of abuse uses intimidation and manipulation to emotionally, physically, psychologically, or even economically harm victims, regardless of age, sex, or religion. Out of fear of disappointing and angering their abusive partner, survivors often keep their struggles to themselves.

According to the National Domestic Violence hotline, an average of 24 people per minute are victims of violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — that’s more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year.

Women are more at risk than men, with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experiencing abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. Due to societal norms and expectations, men are less likely to report the abuses they experience. Because these statistics were evaluated through those who reported domestic violence, there are possibly thousands of abused women and men who have yet to file reports. This is why we never belittle one’s problems and situations. No one, except for the one affected, knows how severe or serious a situation is.

Victims are already hesitant to report their abuse for a myriad of reasons, a common one being that it’s simply too risky. As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, more victims across the globe are unable to report the violence due to the abuser’s immediate access to them, creating what the United Nations is referring to as the “shadow pandemic” of domestic violence.

The statistics on domestic violence are endless, but at Penny Appeal USA we believe in the strength, resilience, and power of survivors and their supporters. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this month you have the power and freedom to empower and free somebody else. We invite you to #PledgeYourPower and go beyond giving survivors the basics they need to regain control of their lives.

Learn more about our #PledgeYourPower💜 for Domestic Violence Survivors campaign by visiting our website: pausa.org/pledgeyourpower