Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Domestic Violence Doesn't Discriminate

Photo by Gronvik @
One of the most prevalent myths about domestic violence is that it only happens in poor families and in the inner city. Statistics clearly demonstrate that this isn’t the case at all.

Domestic violence crosses all socio-economic levels and happens in the inner city, the suburbs and in rural areas. There are no boundaries. However, we do have some trends.

· Intimate partner violence affects people regardless of income. However, people with lower annual income (below $25K) are at a 3-times higher risk of intimate partner violence than people with higher annual income (over $50K). Please note that those with less resources are more likely to report incidents of violence.1

· On average between 1993 and 2004, residents of urban areas experienced highest levels of non-fatal intimate partner violence. Residents in suburban and rural areas were equally likely to experience such violence, about 20% less than those in urban areas.1
Our statistics show that 87% of the women in our shelter are at poverty level. We know from our work with our clients that those who come into shelter have fewer resources. Shelter is often the only resource they have available to them.

Research is less available regarding women of higher socio economic status, but we do know that they don’t seem to choose to enter shelter. Perhaps this is due to feelings of shame, lower levels of reporting the abuse, or a wider network of resources available to them.

Even if a woman lived in a middle or upper class home, when she leaves the relationship her socio economic status can change dramatically. She may immediately find herself homeless and penniless.

Clearly, the violence is happening to all economic levels. It is our goal to reach all of those impacted by domestic violence and ensure that they are aware of the resources available to them and have the means to access them.

1 From the Domestic Violence Resource Center: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S. 1993-2004, 2006.

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