If Friday’s headline “Third of women in world suffer domestic violence” wasn’t startling, the statistics that accompanied the story should be: 40 percent of women killed worldwide were slain by an intimate partner; 23 percent of women in North America have experienced physical or sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partner; and one in five women in the U.S. say that they are victims of rape or attempted rape, with half being from an intimate partner.
The reoccurring theme, of course, is assault brought on by a husband or boyfriend, i.e. domestic violence.
This means that the biggest murder risk for women worldwide is from an intimate partner.
These statistics are derived from a study conducted by the World Health Organization. They provided the first major review of violence against women worldwide, based on studies gathered from 1983 to 2010. The study’s most significant finding was that about a third of all women have been assaulted by a current or former partner. While the definition of domestic violence my vary across the globe, the WHO defines physical violence “as being slapped, pushed, punched, chocked or attacked with a weapon,” and sexual violence “as being physically forced to have sex, having sex for fear of what the partner might do and being compelled to do something sexual that was humiliating or degrading,” according to a story provide by The Associated Press.
It’s scary to really consider these numbers, and the U.S. is not immune to this statistic. While 37 percent of women have experienced physical or sexual violence in Africa, the Middle East and southeast Asia, close 23 percent have experienced it in North America. Western culture is often considered progressive in terms of defining violence against women, but that doesn’t mean that physical and sexual assault isn’t occurring at an alarming rate.
It’s equally scary how such violence is handled in a medical sense.
Shelia Sprague of McMaster University in Canada, who has researched domestic violence at orthopedic clinics, told the AP that, while it is unlikely that a woman affected by assault would tell her medical provider initially, “Over time, if the women are coming into a fracture clinic or a prenatal clinic, they might [say] they are suffering abuse,” if they are asked. Assessment of abuse should be protocol for such clinics, especially for women who repeatedly return for such problems as broken bones, bruises and lacerations.
These issues should be handled in both a physical and mental sense. More resources provided to women through health care and insurance would help to drive down the rapid rate of domestic violence occurring across the world.
Women are six times more likely to be murdered by their partner than men are. In order to eliminate such a tremendous epidemic, we need to foster a culture that responds.
Medical caregivers need to inquire about abuse and intervene when needed; neighbors and friends need to react to signs of domestic violence; and women need to be informed and know that they live in a society that wants to stop domestic violence and protect them from their aggressors.
After reading these reports it has become clear that, medically and legally, the U.S. needs to reevaluate the way it handles physical and sexual assault against women.
Do you know someone in a battering relationship?
Do you suspect that a friend, relative, or someone you know is being abused?
If so, don't be afraid to offer help - you just might save someone's life
Here are some basic steps you can take to assist someone who may be a target of domestic violence:
Adopted from "Domestic Violence: The Facts" A Handbook to STOP VIOLENCE" Courtesy of Peace At Home (formerly Battered Women Fighting Back), Boston
Domestic Violence is a leading cause of injury to women in the U.S. with a 60% chance of a victim being assaulted by their attacker even after law enforcement is involved.
This happened to my dear friend Amber Schinault on July 21, 2012. Even after a protective order was in place, it still was not enough to keep her murderer away.
It feels like yesterday when I received the call from my dear friend. She told me “you’re not going to believe this it’s like from a movie.” Right then I knew it had to be something out of the ordinary, but I wasn’t expecting what she told me. She explained to me that her boyfriend she’d been dating just over a year tried to throw her down the stairs and pushed her around. This surprised me because I’ve hung out with them both a few times and he seemed so nice. She told him to leave but he came back later that night and continued to push her around.
She was assaulted by a vehicular 1st degree assault; she had both hands needing extensive reconstructive surgery. He dropped her off at the hospital that same night where she began treatment. She yelled to the nurses repeatedly to call the police and that he had hurt her. After her repeated cries for help they called the police. As soon as she was out of the hospital I went over her house to visit her. I remember sitting poolside talking about what had happened and catching up with everyday life. She told me that her mother took her to the court house, bandaged hands and all, and was awarded a restraining order. She also was working with The House of Ruth who was helping her out financially because due to staying in the hospital she lost her job. She stayed with her family while she was healing. She had a love for animals. She performed many rescues to help find homes for animals.
She herself had four beautiful dogs that were being help taken care of by friends and family. Her plans were to find foster homes for a couple of her dogs and to move out of the house she lived in and find a new place. She knew she couldn’t take all of her dogs with her. That same day we went over to her house where an unmarked police car sat in front for safety. She showed me where everything had happened. Then we walked the dogs in the fenced in backyard, fed them, and freshened their water before heading back.
I kept contact with Amber throughout her surgeries and helped to keep her spirits up. She became so strong from what had happened and I was proud of her for everything that she was doing. She was so happy to be living life free and away from the abuse.
The last time I saw Amber was on her birthday June 27th 2012. Her family had a small birthday party for her at their house. Friends and family came to wish her happiness and we all had a wonderful time. We kept in contact the next couple weeks. We tried to make plans to get together again but with her pain from healing and busy schedules we weren’t able to.
On July 23rd 2012 I received a call that I would not have ever been expecting. I was told Amber is no longer with us. A million things went through my mind at once. I was told that Amber had gone back to the house to start packing and to spend the last time she had with her dogs. He had entered the house when she wasn’t there and was waiting for her when she came home. My dear friend Amber was murdered.
So many questions came through my mind like everyone else’s that was a friend or family member of Amber. I thought what if there was something better than a piece of paper to keep people like this away from harming other people. I started researching programs and came across
“GPS Tracking for Domestic Violence.”
I saw how Maryland introduced a bill for this program in 2010 but 13 voted no and 8 voted yes.
Some of the concerns were who was going to fund this or will this leave false hope for the victims.
I’m helping to gather more research and bring more awareness to re-introduce this bill. With all the technology that we have, we should have something better in place. My first start is this petition to prove that people are concerned and are for this program.
Thank you for reading Amber’s story.