DOCTOR IS IN: Domestic violence — stopping abuse and bringing awareness

BY MELISSA KOTTKE, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine, Director of the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, Practicing OBGYN at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

KottkeOne in four women will experience some kind of domestic violence during her lifetime. Each year, intimate partner violence results in an estimated 2 million injuries and 1,200 deaths among women. These statistics may be shocking, but sadly, they are very real.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a month to focus on ending the violence that affects so many lives and to increase awareness that there is help for those suffering. It is a time to remember those who have lost their lives because of an abusive relationship. And it is also a time to work towards the prevention of intimate partner violence.

Intimate partner violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, sexual preference, economic background or religious beliefs. It can affect couples that are married, living together or who are dating. Intimate partner violence includes a wide range of verbal, emotional, sexual, physical and psychological behaviors.  Any behavior that intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, blames, hurts, injures or wounds someone is abuse.

Domestic violence affects the entire community and should not be considered a private family matter. Intimate partner violence has major health implications for individual and public health. Those who have experienced partner violence are more likely to smoke, use substances, have depression, experience post-traumatic stress disorder, attempt suicide, have unplanned pregnancies, have sexually transmitted infections and have decreased access to healthcare.

Studies show that children who witness violence at home experience behavioral problems and increased aggression, have less developed social and conflict resolution skills and may suffer long-term developmental effects. These youth are also at risk of engaging in future violence and of being abused themselves.

Intimate partner violence is not okay and you are not alone. If you or someone you know needs help, please consider:

  • Talking with someone you trust.
  • Contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–SAFE (1–800–799–7233) for assistance and to learn about resources in your area.
  • Contacting Partnership Against Domestic Violence’s Metro Atlanta Crisis Lines
404-873-1766 (Fulton Crisis Line)
770-963-9799 (Gwinnett Crisis Line).
  • Creating a safety plan that addresses you and your family’s situation.
  • Learning your rights about domestic violence laws in your state.

Unfortunately, we are seeing evidence of domestic violence at younger and younger ages. One out of 10 high school students nationwide reports being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the previous year. Here in Georgia, that number is even higher, where one in six report dating violence. A study recently released revealed that youth dating violence is beginning as early as 6th grade. New technologies like sexting, Internet stalking and incessant texting are emerging modes for teen dating violence and abuse.

The Jane Fonda Center at Emory University has recently been chosen as one of 11 sites in the nation to fund a new $1 million initiative called Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships. The program is aimed at stopping teen dating violence and abuse before it starts. It is the largest national public health initiative ever funded, targeting 11-to-14-year-olds. The goal is to reduce the nation’s unacceptable level of intimate partner violence through early prevention.  Perhaps if we support young people as they are forming relationships and show them what a healthy relationship is, Domestic Violence Awareness Month can become a thing of the past.

Parents, you can help prevent teen dating violence by:

  • Encouraging and modeling healthy and safe relationships. Discuss what a healthy relationship looks like, feels like and sounds like.
  • Encouraging equality in gender roles and behavior.
  • Expressing clear values and expectations. Talk about your views, especially your views on sexual activity, alcohol and drugs, abusive relationships and other risk behaviors.
  • Preparing your pre-teen or young teen to handle the pressures of adolescence. Role-playing will help your child prepare for the exposure to risk behaviors.
  • Promoting positive and assertive communication and problem-solving skills. Practice “I statements” such as “I am uncomfortable and want to go home.”
  • Encouraging your child’s emotional awareness — the ability to recognize moment-to-moment emotional feelings and to express all feelings (good and bad) appropriately.
  • Listening without judging. Let your teen know that you are supportive and want to help them create healthy relationships.

For more information on the Jane Fonda Center, call 404-712-4710 or visit: http://www.gynob.emory.edu/centers/jfc.html

For more information on Start Strong Atlanta, visit: http://startstrongatl.org/

For more information on the National Domestic Violence Hotline, visit: http://www.ndvh.org/

  • (Information provided by Emory on this site is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your health and medical condition. If you rely on any information available through this website, you do so at your own risk. You understand that you are solely responsible for any damage or loss you may incur that results from your use of or reliance on any material or information provided by Emory through this website.)
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2 comments Add your comment

Attila L. Vinczer

October 28th, 2009
10:05 am

Why bother having an area to post comments, when they don’t get posted???

Respectfully,
Attila L. Vinczer

Attila L. Vinczer

October 28th, 2009
10:23 am

“One in four women will experience some kind of domestic violence during her lifetime.”

If one in four women will experience some kind of domestic violence during her lifetime than according to numerous comprehensive studies that show women are at least as violent as men in intimate relations, one in four MEN will ALSO experience some kind of domestic violence during HIS lifetime as well!

I challenge, MELISSA KOTTKE, MD, MPH, the author of this piece to refute my assertion or anyone else for that matter. I also challenge the author to honestly and without any bias write to include men as victims of DV in any future material. I am utterly perplexed and in dismay that everyone talks about DV against women while men who are subject to the same amount of DV are conveniently ignored and allowed to silently suffer. Why? Are men not worthy of the same consideration as women?

Why does Malisa Kottke not write “One in four men and women will suffer some type of DV etc…?” That would be truthfully unbiassed. Why ignore the suffering men experience at the hands of women in DV situations just the same as women do?

This piece is cleverly written to make it seem that it is men who are the aggressors and women who are the sole victims, save one blurb to the mild contrary; “slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend..” This kind of slant and skewed reporting is not limited to this piece. It is rampant!

Men not only suffer the same amount of DV abuse as women they also suffer an insurmountable false claims of DV and rape against men by unscrupulous women with an agenda to destroy their male partner or get a leg up on custody and equalisation matters in divorce proceedings. Some women will even make false claims of rape and DV simply out of spite. When they are caught they spend no time in jail or very little such as the recent case with Rebecca Vaughn who was sentenced to 20 days in jail for destroying her husband who spent TWELVE MONTHS IN JAIL after her malicious false allegation against him!!!

I am a victim and a survivor of severe DV, although I was never physically struck the tole on my body at the hands of my extremely vindictive ex-wife is horrific. I had called the police not less than 7 times and they NEVER took my situation seriously. On the contrary after being taunted by my ex-father-in-law who then attempted to remove our children from our home against my wishes, the police actually asked ME to leave the home??? I refused!

Here are some examples of what my ex-wife would say and do;
1. “I feel so empowered I could chew you up and spit you out!”
2. “If you mention anything about my drinking to CAS/CPS, I will have you out of this house the next day!”
3. “I am going to have you put in jail!” This was said over and over again.
4. A false allegation within a perjured affidavit that I sexually aroused my son was made against me.
5. Made to feel useless, worthless, stupid, unkind, uncaring no matter how I was to the contrary!

She has NEVER been held accountable for her actions!

Had I not had 35 years of martial arts training to condition my body and mind, I surely would have ended up insane or dead. Thankfully that never happened and I persevered, unlike a client of mine Stan Muir who took his life as his wife drove him out of his mind. That is just ONE example of DV against a man by a woman that ended in death which was never reported as such.

If DV is not dealt with equally for men and women than funding (in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year) is not warranted which is enjoyed by women exclusively. That is a travesty, a gross misappropriation of public funds and gender discrimination in the highest degree!

When I realized I needed help there was absolutely NOTHING for me a male, but pages for women to tap into in the phone book. Even the police who are there to serve and protect failed me miserably. This is simply unacceptable and I will see to it tirelessly that it is changed forthwith!!!

Respectfully,
Attila L. Vinczer
Supporter of: Canada Court Watch and
Glenn Sacks and Fathers & Families