Domestic Violence is defined as a pattern of behavior utilized to establish power and control over another person. It typically involves an escalating pattern of abuse where one party in an intimate relationship controls the other through intimidation, threats of violence or actual violence. The abusers frequently manage to virtually “brainwash” the victim into believing that it was his/her fault and the abuse or beating was deserved. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, nearly twenty-five percent (25%) of American women report being raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, co-habitating partner, or a date at some time in their lives. Forty percent (40%) of adult Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused in the past year by a male. In 2006, Ohio Law Enforcement Agencies responded to 71,946 domestic dispute calls (Ohio Attorney General’s Criminal Indemnification 2006 Statistics). Of those calls to the police, 34,021 were categorized as domestic violence incidents. Ohio’s statistics for the year of 2006, show that sixty-five percent (65%) of the alleged offenders were Caucasian; seventy-seven percent (77%) were men; and sixty-seven percent (67%) of the offenders were between the ages of 18 and 40. Sixty percent (60%) of the victims were wives, parents, or other partners of the offender.
All of us need to be sensitive and aware of the enormous effects domestic violence has on its victims. Along with the violence, the victims often experiences a sense of shame, loss of self-esteem, fear, humiliation, depression, isolation, and emotional and/or financial dependency upon the offender. The National Violence Against Women Survey conducted with more than six thousand (6,000) American families concluded that fifty percent (50%) of the men who frequently assault their wives have also abused their children! Studies also show that more than half (½) the female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under the age of twelve (12). This fact certainly gives cause for us to be concerned not only for the actual victims, but also for their children as well.
Acts of domestic violence not only have a profound affect upon the victim, but also upon the community at large. Many people naively believe that domestic violence only effects the victim and the offender. This is not true. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimate that twenty-five percent (25%) of work-place problems such as absenteeism, low work productivity, turnover, and excessive use of medical benefits are in fact due to family violence.
Fortunately, there are many resources available both in the Dayton Community and nationally for victims of domestic violence. Locally in Dayton, Artemis House provides a safe haven with free emergency shelter for victims and their children. Help through this agency is only a phone call away at 937-222-7233. An emergency hotline at Ohio Domestic Violence Network is available twenty-four (24) hours at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or at 800-787-3224. For other local resources, go to the Artemis Center website.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.