Domestic Violence is a very prevalent problem in this country...
by Regina M. Windels

Domestic Violence affects people of all nationalities and ages on a daily basis. Most often, women are the victims but it does happen to children and even some men, too. Many view it as a private matter between spouses, boyfriend and girlfriend or parents and children but the reality of it is … it is a 'criminal offense' against another! It’s a horrible thing to deal with and nobody should have to.
An abuse victim is often treated as property or a slave than as a human being with feelings and opinions. Their self-esteem is beaten out of them, they are made to feel worthless, stupid, and that their whole existence is to make the abuser happy…which you can not do. You live in denial and actually begin to think it is normal. You are isolated from others… family and friends so no one will know. Often your fears are used against you… you live in fear of messing up or anyone finding out…you feel trapped and wish for a way out but are too afraid to do so…fearful of the repercussions you would face. You fear for your life and often for the lives of those close to you…your numb, depressed, wish the nightmare would end…the despair is great, you really don’t care about much anymore. You wonder how you ended up in this situation and that your only hope is to find a way to cope. You begin to put up a wall…a safe-haven for your thoughts, your feelings, opinions and emotions. This wall is your friend…it helps you get through the days or from one episode to another.
The wall may help but unfortunately, does nothing to break us free from the cycle; offers no support…no help. Many people endure these types of relationships for years or even a lifetime. Many wonder if life is so bad why doesn’t one just leave? There are many reasons: the fear factor of what may come if you were to leave or perhaps financial reasons, shelters are full and nowhere else to go are to name a few. Breaking free from this cycle doesn’t come easy…even if the abuser decides to move on to another victim.
Rebuilding ones self-esteem is difficult and takes time, you have problems trusting, dealing with the scars left behind can cause one nightmares, waves of emotions and crying spells, or the occasional thing that brings the past rushing in at the most strangest of times.
Every victim can tell you the experiences and the horror stories they have endured that a lot of people would find hard to fathom. Domestic abuse is often viewed as physical violence only but this is not the case.

Domestic violence comes in many forms:

Emotional and Verbal Abuse – One is called names, told how useless and stupid they are, told they will never amount to anything without the abuser in their life, humiliated privately and publicly and often manipulated by their abuser…a total loss of self respect and esteem. Even a person who is outgoing and self-confident can become a victim of abuse becoming withdrawn, losing their self-esteem, their individuality.

Isolation – The abuser keeps the victim from associating with family and friends or allowing the ability to develop new friendships. Keeping the victim from any interaction with others protects the abuser from anyone seeing what is really going on or even suspecting there may be problems.

Threats or Intimidation – Often told how easy they can kill you or that if you tell anyone about the abuse you will suffer the consequences and wish you were dead and the victim is the one made out to be at fault.

Physical Abuse and Sexual Assault – The abuser inflicts pain usually starting out with minor things such as pushing and shoving and escalating as time goes on to things as kicking, punching and choking. Often sexual abuse is inflicted, too.

If you are experiencing problems there are places one can look to for help.
Below is a list of some places to seek help:

A handbook on Domestic Violence -

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence –

Office on Violence Against Women, Jefferson City, Mo. 573-751-5954

Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Jefferson City, Mo. 573-634-4161

The Women’s Center, P.O. Box 51, Hotline 314-946-6854

ALIVE, P.O. Box 11201 St. Louis, Mo. 63105, Bus.314-993-7080 Hotline 314-993-2777

Educational Center on Family Violence, St. Louis, Mo. 63116 314-771-1116

Kathy J. Weinman Shelter for Battered Women and their Children, P.O. Box 5852 St. Louis, Mo. 63134 Bus. 314-423-1117, Hotline 314-423-1117

Bridgeway Sexual Assault Center

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