November is Women abuse prevention month

November 2, 2021

November is Women Abuse Prevention Month. The event was started in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (now known as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault) to raise public awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault. It has since become a nationwide effort to provide education, empowerment and prevention of abuse against women at all levels.

The month of November is dedicated to bringing attention to issues that are often hidden in our communities. This means getting out into the streets, holding signs that show support for survivors or simply having conversations with family members or friends who may need help fighting off their abuser.

Statistics

At least three women are murdered every day by their husbands or boyfriends in this country. The number of women who suffer violent attacks is much higher than that.

Every 9 seconds a woman is beaten or assaulted, and each day four women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

These numbers only include the cases we know about — if we counted unreported cases, these figures would be 15 to 20 times as high. These numbers do not count the many thousands of children and elderly family members who also become victims because they cannot escape an abusive mother or wife. In addition, violence at home often breeds more violence on the streets outside: between 25% and 50% of all rapes are committed by men whose victims were assaulted by someone they knew well first.

What is abuse against women?

Abuse isn’t just about hitting or hurting someone — it can also include withholding money, forcing a person into sexual acts she doesn’t want to engage in, isolating her from friends and family members, making threats to harm others if she leaves, saying things like “no one else would want you.” Abuse can come in many forms: physical, verbal/emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual. Abuse can happen to anyone of any race, class, religion or sexual orientation.

Violence and physical, sexual and psychological abuse are often present in the lives of many women. Many victims experience severe health problems that can affect them for a long time, even after leaving their abusers. The abuse puts their lives at risk; it can cause death both directly (through injuries inflicted by perpetrators) and indirectly (due to suicide). It also affects the children who live with these abused mothers.

What are the effects of abuse against women?

Women who live in an abusive situation live with constant stress, unsure if this is the day when violence will be unleashed on them. The fear of what is coming causes many health problems, both mental and physical. As for their children, they too suffer greatly. Living with a mother that lives under continuous stress has serious consequences for their psychological development.

It must also be noted that the perpetrators often use the children as leverage to keep their victims at home; in some cultures, men even go so far as taking all their children away. This leads to feelings of guilt and an urge to return or stay in order to regain custody of them (if possible). Fear can also push women back since they fear that the perpetrators will take revenge on them and their children after leaving.

A woman who lives with an abuser is caught in a double bind: if she leaves she fears for her life, but if she stays (or returns) she endangers the lives of herself and her children.

The pain caused by abuse doesn’t go away when the abuser apologizes or stops hurting his victim. The effects are life-long for both victims and their children. Children who grow up in abusive households often suffer from low self-esteem, problems at school, depression brought on by the confusion that results from being abused at home, nightmares and an inability to trust others including potential partners as adults. Even if they don’t become abusers themselves, they are more likely than other people to be victimized by an abuser later on in their lives. So violence against women is a community issue — not just a “family” problem — because it affects us all.

Abuse against women can be prevented, and it begins with each of us taking responsibility for speaking out against any act of violence in our homes or our communities. By educating ourselves about the dynamics of violence, we can arm ourselves with the knowledge to stop the cycle. If you know a victim of abuse, don’t ignore it — make a plan to help her escape safely. And if you are an abuser, seek help before your violent behaviour does even more harm. Each one of us is responsible for ending this cycle once and for all.

Abuse Against Women Means a wild pandemic that must be stopped and forgotten! Let’s unite our efforts to end it once and for all!!