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SILENT WITNESS CAMPAIGN Presented by the Zonta Club of [Insert Club Name]
Zonta International envisions a world in which women's rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential. In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men. In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? • Domestic Violence is a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm. Family or household members include spouses / former spouses, those in (or formerly in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage, and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship. • The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, and isolation to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor. • Domestic violence is not only physical and sexual violence but also psychological. Psychological violence means intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions or behaviors of the spouse through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of the individual.
WARNING SIGNS § Physical and sexual abuse § Emotional abuse § Economic abuse § Coercion and threats § Intimidation § Using children § Isolation § Using jealousy and blame to justify actions Disagreements develop from time to time in relationships. Domestic violence is not a disagreement. It is a whole pattern of behaviors used by one partner to establish and maintain power and control over the other. These behaviors can become more frequent and intense over time.
v Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten. v Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. v On average, 33 percent of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner. v An estimated 36 percent of all U. S. women report ever having experienced intimate partner violence including rape, physical violence, and/or stalking. v v On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Globally, as many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner. v 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. v On a typical day, there are more than 20, 000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. v The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%. v Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime. v Women between the ages of 18 -24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. v 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon. v Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. v Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries. 2
ECONOMIC IMPACT • Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8. 0 million days of paid work each year. • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8. 3 billion per year. • Between 21 -60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse. • Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser, 78% of women killed in the workplace during this timeframe.
LOCAL STATISTICS • [ADD FACTS AND STATISTICS FROM YOUR AREA. ]
MYTHS MYTH #1: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OCCURS ONLY IN POOR, UNEDUCATED AND MINORITY FAMILIES. FACT: Studies of domestic violence consistently have found that battering occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, profession, region, ethnicity, educational level or race. MYTH #2: ALCOHOL ABUSE CAUSES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. FACT: Although there is a high correlation between alcohol, or other substance abuse, and battering, it is not a causal relationship. Batterers use drinking as one of many excuses for their violence and as a way to place the responsibility for their violence elsewhere. Stopping the abusers' drinking will not stop the violence. Both battering and substance abuse need to be addressed separately, as overlapping yet independent problems. MYTH #3: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS USUALLY A ONE TIME, ISOLATED OCCURRENCE. FACT: Battering is a pattern of coercion and control that one person exerts over another. Battering is not just one physical attack. It includes the repeated use of a number of tactics, including intimidation, threats, economic deprivation, isolation and psychological and sexual abuse. Physical violence is just one of these tactics. The various forms of abuse utilized by batterers help to maintain power and control over their spouses and partners.
MYTH #4: MEN WHO BATTER ARE OFTEN GOOD FATHERS AND SHOULD HAVE JOINT CUSTODY OF THEIR CHILDREN IF THE COUPLE SEPARATES. Fact: Studies have found that men who batter their wives also abuse their children in 70% of cases. Even when children are not directly abused, they suffer as a result of witnessing one parent assault another. Batterers often display an increased interest in their children at the time of separation, as a means of maintaining contact with, and thus control over, their partners. MYTH #5: BATTERED WOMEN ARE MASOCHISTIC AND PROVOKE THE ABUSE. THEY MUST LIKE IT OR THEY WOULD LEAVE. FACT: Victim provocation is no more common in domestic violence than in any other crime. Battered women often make repeated attempts to leave violent relationships, but are prevented from doing so by increased violence and control tactics on the part of the abuser. Other factors which inhibit a victim's ability to leave include economic dependence, few viable options for housing and support, unhelpful responses from the criminal justice system or other agencies, social isolation, cultural or religious constraints, a commitment to the abuser and the relationship and fear of further violence. It has been estimated that the danger to a victim increases by 70% when she attempts to leave, as the abuser escalates his use of violence when he begins to lose control. In order for society to accept responsibility for eradicating domestic violence, these myths must be dispelled.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY To end the cycle of domestic violence, we first need to break the silence around the topic. You can raise awareness with friends, co-workers and family, encourage others to seek help if they are in danger, and have meaningful, thought-provoking conversations. • Be inspired by survivors' stories and share your inspiration • Dispel myths such as the most commonly asked question, "Why don't they just leave? " • Write a Letter to the Editor. • Invite Zontians to speak to your group or workplace. • Organize a fundraiser for a local shelter or other organizations providing support for victims. • Do not ignore the warning signs. Give victims crucial information for seeking help.
FOR MORE INFORMATION • www. zonta. org • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 -800 -799 -SAFE (7233) • [add local numbers and contacts]
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