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Domestic Violence in the Black / African American Community

Domestic Violence in the Black / African American Community

Domestic violence affects everyone regardless of race, class, economic status, gender, or sexuality. However, it is essential to look at domestic violence statistics and recognize where there may be a lack of resources or underreporting.

Statistics

Black women and Black men experience domestic violence at a statistically higher rate than any other community, with 45% of Black women and 40% of Black men having been in an abusive relationship. These numbers show that the Black community is disproportionally affected by domestic violence.

Barriers

We must look intently at the barriers leading to domestic violence in the Black and African American communities to see the systemic issues holding these communities back. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) wrote: “By intentionally denying Black people access to economic opportunities, the ability to build intergenerational wealth, healthcare, education, and a sense of safety from governmental systems, racist policies increase the prevalence of risk factors for domestic violence.”

With such distrust in law enforcement due to the ongoing history of discrimination and abuse – victims of DV in Black and African American communities may be less likely to reach out to report incidents. As there is a greater risk in reaching out for help, more attention must be paid to creating different approaches.

Seeking Resources

Creating resources for Black and African American communities to deal with domestic violence cannot be done the same way other communities do. The intersectionality of cultural, social, and economic aspects all play a role in creating safe spaces for victims and survivors that can be genuinely deemed ‘safe spaces.’ More open discussion about these topics can allow communities to battle stigmas and oppression.

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Teen Dating Violence – What It Looks Like And What We Can Do About It

Teen Dating Violence - What it Looks Like and What We Can Do About It

Violence amongst teenage dating is a huge social issue that affects millions of young people around the world. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12  U.S. high school students experienced dating violence – whether physical or sexual. Teen dating violence (TDV) can alter the way one develops, leaving lost lasting effects on identity, sexuality, and intimacy.

Things to look out for

There are multiple signs to look out for with teen dating. Not only when you’re the one in the relationship but also as a bystander during an abusive situation. Romantic relationships are frequently accompanied by jealousy and communication issues – both of which are leading factors to dating violence.

Some things to look out for:

  • invasion of privacy
  • sudden mood changes
  • controlling behaviors and threats

Abuse usually tends to become worse over time, and being able to point out negative behaviors early on in a relationship can help reduce TDV.

Prevention

We can work collectively to help prevent teen dating violence by bringing more awareness to an issue that isn’t frequently discussed.

As a role model, you can display healthy relationships and boundaries for the teenagers in your life. With the norm being shared that abusive behavior is not tolerated, a message can be sent out to teens who may not be aware of their situation or have a place to express themselves and safely share their experiences.

It is common for behaviors seen in real life, on TV, and at home to be normalized into habits and expectations. Having an intentional conversation about the realities of domestic violence is vital to equip young people with the tools to identify negative behaviors and build positive relationships.

Creating/joining safe environments/communities and seeking help is the most effective way to get out of an abusive relationship. It is important to remember you are never alone – resources are always available. Whether through programs, friends, or family, there is always help accessible to you.

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How Do You Survive An Attack Of Strangulation With A Narcissist?

How Do You Survive An Attack Of Strangulation With A Narcissist?

Strangulation is an unfortunate reality for many women. Follow this guide to help survive an attack of strangulation and take steps to leave an abusive relationship.

When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, lovable, belong, or cultivate a sense of purpose.

We have heard women stating, “I got strangled on my honeymoon. I didn’t even know that was abuse. I didn’t know what to do. While dating him, he never tried to strangle me, even when red flags were around but not enough to convince me that I was in love with a narcissist, and I ended up marrying one.”

A statement like this may seem quite familiar because we have heard them repeatedly, but what have we done about them is the question. Have we tried to lay down a strong foundation for telling women how to save themselves before the situation arises where they might get killed?

Devastatingly pervasive: 1 in 3 women globally experience violence – Younger women among those most at risk: WHO

The situation may appear out of hand, but we can still educate people about the issue. Hence, we are sharing the guidelines on how one could survive an attack by a narcissist.

1. Educate Yourself About Narcissism

It’s essential to educate yourself on this subject. Strangulation is a subject you don’t learn in schools or colleges until and unless you pursue a specific professional course. But this subject emerges as the need of the hour because 1 in 3 women fall prey to narcissistic abuse without realizing it is abuse in the first place. Sit at the kitchen counter, make a cup of coffee and start reading about narcissism. Doing so can help you detect narcissists in the first few glances.

2. Create Healthy Boundaries

Establish boundaries and do everything in your power to stick to them. Learn to remove yourself from abusive situations as much as possible. Sometimes you cannot if you are living with abuse in the same abode, but there are ways to tackle that too. Disengage and go outside for a walk or to sit on a bench before an abusive person causes you harm. Taking these steps will send a strong message to your abuser that you are not ready to have an offensive discussion. Instead, you have learned to say no to their manipulative tricks.

3. Write About Your Expectations

Narcissists will not show mercy to you, but you have to show mercy to yourself. If the abusive situation has reached a point where they’re prepared to strangle you, then it’s time to pen down the expectations you have for yourself. If you don’t write one, then start writing one either in your phone or diary. Write down your answers to these questions:

  • What makes you stay with the narcissist?
  • Why are you finding it hard to leave the narcissist?
  • Why are you enduring the abuse?
  • What steps will you take to leave this situation?

4. Keep An Eye On The Narcissist

When a narcissist is hurting you consistently and uninvitingly, it’s your time to showcase the mirror to the narcissist – but not violently. By living with the narcissist for so long, you know what makes him angry, what his limitations are, and how those limitations could be beaten by you when the right time comes. Please create a list and plan your life while keeping an eye on his limits.

5. Not Every War Is Meant To Be Fought

You don’t have to please the narcissist, nor have you to enrage the narcissist. You become smart if your goals are clear in mind. If the narcissist asks you something that doesn’t make you feel right, nod or leave it immediately. By avoiding minor conflicts in the short term, you can save yourself from further abuse as you plan your exit strategy. For instance: If a narcissist wants you to compliment him on the new shirt that he is wearing, do that so that he doesn’t get an idea of your true intentions. Focus your energy on your plan of leaving him forever. You have to fake it at times to safeguard yourself.

6. Don’t Feel Guilty About Yourself

It takes bones of steel to live with a narcissist, so never feel guilty about becoming manipulative while living with him. You are not doing that intentionally; that’s your surviving spirit kicking in so that you can start afresh once you leave this narcissistic abusive relationship. Sometimes we must become like the one hurting us in order to leave them without hurting ourselves. Give yourself a break from enduring the abuse rather than blaming yourself for being selfish. Thinking about you is not selfish.

Final Words

Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Don’t hesitate to go out and breathe fresh air when you need it. Don’t hesitate to lay down a path for yourself that you always deserved because you owe this much to yourself. A relationship with a narcissist is a direct sign of letting someone know that it’s better to live without a relationship than living with a monster to ruin your peace of mind.

I hope the tips and tricks in this article help you survive the narcissist and give you enough courage to leave a narcissistic abusive relationship.

Parallels Between Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

Parallels Between Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

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Megan McCann
Megan McCann

Three out of every four victims of human trafficking have also been victims of domestic violence.

Human trafficking is one the most prevalent human rights issues, with an estimated 24.9 million victims around the world. It is defined as the use of “force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”
There is a major relationship between domestic violence and human trafficking. Domestic violence, as defined by the Department of Justice, is abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner in order to gain and/or maintain control and power over the other partner; including, but not limited to: physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological threats/actions.

Warning Signs

Human traffickers often prey on those with low self-esteem, and victims of domestic violence are often times accompanied by vulnerability. Traffickers use a complex myriad of abuse in order to control and further abuse victims. Domestic violence and trafficking survivors often share the similarity that they have suffered from somebody close to them – whether it be sexual, physical or mental. It is important to note that many traffickers live with their victims – subjecting them to repetitive harm and constant dangerous situations.

Most relationships a trafficker will have with their victims start under false pretenses in order to be able to fully exploit their partner. There are also instances where a relationship may develop down the line to violence and lead to trafficking. Three out of every four victims of human trafficking have also been victims of domestic violence.

Intersectionality of DV and Trafficking

Given the similar approach taken by perpetrators of domestic violence and human trafficking, we can take a look at the most obvious parallels. Gaining and maintaining power over victims is achieved by the use of threats, intimidation, economic deprivation, and emotional, physical and mental abuse. It is not unlikely for a victim’s partner to be their trafficker in cases like this. Coercion into commercial sex and forced/involuntary labor is extremely common given the manipulative tactics used by the enforcer.

Types of coercion and control that may be utilized by traffickers includes the relationship they have with the victim. Friends, family, and romantic partners are very likely to be the perpetrators. They control finances and actions of the victim and create environments that maintain their power over every situation – making it seem as though one would be stuck under control. Trafficking doesn’t always mean that one is physically held against their will, but the emotional and financial control as well as threats against victims. The crossover between domestic violence and human trafficking is a lot larger than one may think at first glance.

Resources

With understanding the intersectionality of domestic violence and human trafficking, we can learn more about the patterns of abuse and help ensure that victims are able to receive the resources they need. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking, resources are available. The National Human Trafficking Hotline connects survivors and victims to services and support lines.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, DON’T WAIT.

Get help now.

Facts Victims of Strangulation Need to Know

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Facts Victims of Strangulation Need to Know

Strangulation in domestic abuse has only recently been identified as one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence: unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death within minutes. When domestic violence perpetrators choke (strangle) their victims, not only is this felonious assault, but it may be an attempted homicide. Strangulation is an ultimate form of power and control, where the batterer can demonstrate control over the victim’s next breath; having devastating psychological effects or a potentially fatal outcome.

Sober and conscious victims of strangulation will first feel terror and severe pain. If strangulation persists, unconsciousness will follow. Before lapsing into unconsciousness, a strangulation victim will usually resist violently, often producing injuries of their own neck in an effort to claw off the assailant, and frequently also producing injury on the face or hands of their assailant. These defensive injuries may not be present if the victim is physically or chemically restrained before the assault. Victims may lose consciousness by any one or all of the following methods: blocking of the carotid arteries in the neck (depriving the brain of oxygen), blocking of the jugular veins (preventing de-oxygenated blood from exiting the brain), and closing off the airway, making breathing impossible.

It doesn’t take long to do serious damage

Very little pressure on both the carotid arteries and/or veins for ten seconds is necessary to cause unconsciousness. However, if the pressure is immediately released, consciousness will be regained within ten seconds. To completely close off the trachea (windpipe), three times as much pressure (33 lbs.) is required. Brain death will occur in 4 to 5 minutes, if strangulation persists.

Be aware that strangulation may cause the following symptoms and/or consequences: difficulty breathing, raspy, hoarse or loss of voice, coughing, difficulty swallowing, drooling, nausea, vomiting, changes in behavior, hallucinations, headaches, light heaedness, dizziness, urination or defecation, miscarriage, swollen tongue or lips. These symptoms may be an early indication of an internal injury such as swelling, bleeding, fractured larynx (“voice box”) or hyoid bone, seizures, pulmonary edema (lungs filled with fluid) or death within 36 hours due to progressive internal injuries and/or complications. It is possible to survive the assault, regain consciousness, refuse medical treatment, and then die later from undiagnosed or unsuspected fatal injury.

How to get proof

Victims should look for injuries on their face, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chin, neck, head, scalp, chest and shoulders, including: redness, scratches or abrasions, fingernail impressions in the skin, deep fingernail claw marks, ligature marks (“rope burns”), thumbprint-shaped bruises, blood-red  eyes, pinpoint red spots called “petechiae” or blue fingernails. All of these injuries change in appearance over time after the assault. Some injuries, like redness, may persist for only a few minutes. Others, like petechiae, persist for days. Observation of the changes in these signs over time can greatly facilitate determination of the nature and scope of internal damage produced during the assault, and lend credibility to witness accounts of the force and duration of the assault. Documentation by photographs sequentially for a period of days after the assault is very helpful in establishing a journal of physical evidence.

Victims should also seek medical attention if they experience difficulty breathing, speaking, swallowing or experience nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, headache, involuntary urination and/or defecation.

Although most victims may suffer no visible injuries whatsoever and many fully recover from being strangled, all victims, especially pregnant victims, should be encouraged to seek immediate medical attention. A medical evaluation may be crucial in detecting internal injuries and saving a life.

Addiction Through the Eyes of a Survivor

Addiction Through the Eyes of a Survivor

Addiction through the eyes of a survivor of domestic violence is a unique perspective on the disease and offers survivors what they believe is an escape from the pain and suffering they have endured. Victims and Survivors of domestic violence are more likely to struggle with a wide range of issues while overcoming the trauma of abuse.

Addiction through the eyes of a survivor of domestic violence is unique perspective on the disease and offers survivors what they believe is an escape from the pain and suffering they have endured. Victims and Survivors of domestic violence are more likely to struggle with a wide range of issues while overcoming the trauma of abuse. Some problems we may develop are substance abuse, addiction, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and PTSD. Domestic violence and substance abuse are intimately linked and often coincide.

For many survivors who turn to substances, it is an escape from past trauma to cope with the results of the lasting emotional and physical effects. Sometimes, we are coerced into using drugs or alcohol by our abusive partners. For those of us still experiencing abuse, it can be a severe burden to bear, and the use of substances may sometimes seem like the only way out.

Defining Domestic Violence

Because we need this escape, our likelihood of becoming addicted increases. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), substance abuse involves about 40-60 percent of intimate partner violence (IPV) incidents. Victims are 70% more likely to drink excessively than those in healthy relationships.

I don’t remember learning about domestic violence in school. I was raised in a good home with parents who have been happily married for 60 years. It wasn’t until after I left my abuser and was in an emergency shelter with my kids that I even heard “domestic violence.” I’d love to say that leaving the relationship improved everything, but that would be a lie. It took years of counseling, support groups, growing in my faith, and ultimately, getting sober to even begin to put myself back together.

Escaping the Pain

It took 10 years of struggling with addiction before I decided to get sober. My children were my identity, and I was proud of being an at-home mom. When I became a single mom, I was responsible for providing for my children independently. It was easy for me to put my needs on the back burner to focus on them. Weekends, holidays, and summer vacations were tough for me to be away from my kids, and I lost myself in those days.

In the beginning, I would only drink when my kids were away, but I found myself saying I’ll just have “one drink.” I never only had one drink. Weekend drinking started earlier and earlier in the week. “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” started earlier in the day and then found myself drinking for brunch. I will admit I was in denial, thinking because I wasn’t drinking every day, I didn’t have a problem. I wanted to drink everyday. My “escape” was going out with friends, drinking, and living a life of “freedom.” I didn’t realize that escaping my feelings only created a dependency on what I thought was freedom.

Self-Medicating

Instead of my hard days bringing me to my knees, they turned me to the bottle. Anxiety and PTSD became overwhelming, and out of control, so I turned to my doctor. Medication is not to be taken lightly, and definitely don’t mix. I was not someone who should have ever been in control of my medicine. I began to forget if I had taken my medication and would double meds or more. Even being in a new healthy relationship didn’t remove the effects of abuse, guilt, shame, and dependency on alcohol and drugs.

On the contrary, disappointments, infertility, and loss only spiraled me more. I lost control and started to act like the monster I had run from all those years ago. Guilt and shame became my routine, and it was hard to see my reflection in the ones I loved and was hurting so deeply. I wanted to die because I couldn’t find the strength to stop. It wasn’t until I reached the end of myself that I cried out to God, and He stepped in.

The Healing Begins

From one day to the next, I stopped all medications and alcohol. Honestly, I suffered withdrawals and paranoia, but the people I tried so hard to push away surrounded me with love and support and kept me safe. I laid down pain, guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, disappointment, and grief and picked up hope, love, peace, joy, and freedom. It was a long road to sobriety, but that road led to true freedom.

In the past 6 years, I have found the person I was created to be, “the victim” is no longer my name. I am now a survivor, an overcomer, and a warrior. I found my purpose in helping those in domestic violence relationships, dealing with the effects of abuse, and experiencing addiction and self-harm.

Finding the Light

I found my voice and used it to speak life and hope to others. I’ve learned the startling statistics of domestic violence and how many of us turn to ways of coping with our pain that often lead down a road of darkness and addiction. I’ve also learned that abusers need someone to prey off of, and they only find it in the people with the biggest hearts and brightest lights. Abusers snuff out the light because they don’t have their own. They steal from their victims and leave their darkness in return. Yet something incredibly beautiful about a survivor is that we FIND our light again and shine even brighter than before. We go back into the dark places where people are hurting because they’ve lost their light. We share our light with them and pull them out so they can shine brighter than before.

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