How Children Carry the Weight of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and abuse is a world-wide epidemic that affects people in every community regardless of economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. It is a blight on society that results in serious physical, emotional and mental health problems with far-reaching consequences for all concerned.

The never-ending cycle of abuse is a threat to the health of every man, woman and child and should be considered a national health emergency. Consider the following facts:

  • Studies show that 88 percent of women who have experienced domestic violence and abuse suffer from a chronic health condition.
  • It is estimated that 10 million children witness some form or domestic violence every year. Witnessing can mean seeing incidents of physical and sexual abuse, hearing fighting and threats, observing the aftermath of incidents, and living in a constant state of fear and tension. These children suffer emotional and physical trauma and may experience frequent illnesses, developmental delays in speech and cognitive skills, and even may become self-injuring and use aggression with other kids, or even their mothers. As they grow older, they have a higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and serious, chronic health conditions.
  • Boys who witness their mothers’ abuse are more likely to batter their female partners, and girls may believe that threats and violence are the norm in relationships, thus enabling the cycle of violence and abuse, shame and sickness.

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