Domestic Violence is a public health issue

Violence is a public health issue

Domestic Violence is a serious public health and safety issue, not a private family matter. It has a ripple effect on families, communities, and globally.

Nationally, the estimated costs of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) exceed $5.8 billion each year. This includes costs of medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity. VIPP It is a societal condition with roots in oppression, marginalization & privilege.

Violence is a learned behavior and there is much reinforcement of it through our societal messages. Certain groups have power and certain groups have less access to power, protection, and resources.

Violence and Aggression are normalized and minimized in society.

Think about times when you’ve seen violence normalized, in television, comedies, video games, and magazines. Victim blaming is a form of minimizing violence; you were in the wrong place at the wrong time; why don’t you leave, or with sexual assault making judgments on the clothes the victim was wearing. Violence is tolerated by secrecy & silence by the old phrase “its none of my business”.

Gender socialization in the American culture is another contributing factor to the violence we experience in our lives. Women are socialized to be sexual objects, the property of men, less valuable than men. Men are socialized to be dominant, emotionally limited, and angry. This leads to both violence against women in intimate partner relationships and also violence against women and men who don’t fit the expectation of what a woman should be, and what a man should be.

“If it were between countries, we’d call it a war. If it were a disease, we’d call it an epidemic. If it were an oil spill, we’d call it a disaster. But it is happening to women, and it’s just an everyday affair. It is violence against women. It is sexual harassment at work and sexual abuse of the young. It is the beating or the blow that millions of women suffer each and every day. It is rape at home or on a date. It is murder.”
-Dr. Michael Kaufman

In Utah 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime (higher than the national average). Domestic violence is only one form of violence against women in our society. Others include sexual assault, stalking, trafficking. However, if we look at DV as only violence against women we are making some victims invisible.

If your group would like to learn more about prevention and awareness education around domestic violence, call Whitney Leavitt at Peace House to schedule an educational presentation.