The Uncomfortable Truth About Domestic Violence

During the month of April, we recognize National Crime Victims' Rights Week. It's important to acknowledge and understand what victims face, so we can work together to help minimize the occurrences of abuse and obstacles.

This blog was originally published on May 11, 2022. 

In a typical year, 243 million women and girls worldwide experience intimate partner violence. The staggering effects of these occurrences touch every part of our society, and, sadly, the full scope of domestic violence incidents cannot be known with certainty, given that nearly half of them go unreported. Victims stay silent because of social pressure — fearing that they won’t be believed or feeling pressure to stay in the abusive relationship. Furthermore, women and girls who experience intimate partner violence are at greater risk of mental health issues, unplanned pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases compared to those who do not experience violence. For victims in these all-too-common situations, help and hope can seem hard to find. 

The scope of intimate partner violence during the pandemic 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to helplines increased as much as five times, according to research from UN Women. Since 2020, due to stay-at-home orders and other pandemic stressors, reports of domestic violence have increased, and for those marginalized by race, sexual orientation, and disabilities, rates of abuse have increased by 50%. The reasons for the increase include:  

How to help victims today 

With so many women and girls experiencing intimate violence, it is possible you know or will encounter someone who needs help. Here’s what you can do: 

Another way to help is to know about and support local organizations by raising awareness, donating, or volunteering. Fewer than 1 in 10 violent crime victims seek assistance making victim information, education, and notification critical. VINE offers a service provider directory that can help victims find local help. Millions of victims/survivors and concerned citizens have access to timely and reliable information about offenders or criminal cases through VINE. 

These painful facts are a reality for many people. They need to be known because women and girls continue to be at risk, and as long as we keep talking about these issues and learning what we can do to help, there is hope.  

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