Some women who have been abused by their intimate partners attempt to justify remaining in the relationship out of misguided beliefs that their children will fare better in life if they grow up in a two-parent home. However, statistics certainly don't support this belief.
The true cost of growing up in a violent home
Children who grow up witnessing incidents of domestic violence have a 1,500 percent higher rate of being neglected or physically abused themselves. Even if the abuse never gets directed at them, emotionally, they are as traumatized as children who do suffer physical abuse.
That's frightening to contemplate, as over 3 million kids bear witness to domestic violence in their homes every year.
Researchers studied 900 kids living in shelters for domestic violence victims. They learned that almost 70 percent of them had suffered neglect or physical abuse. Almost 50 percent had been subjected to sexual or physical, with 5 percent requiring hospitalization.
Safety nets are full of holes
People often assume that abused children get scooped into the built-in safety nets of government and society. Yet the aforementioned study determined that a mere 20 percent of the kids in shelters had received services from Child Protective Services (CPS) before winding up in shelters.
Kids are living in as many as 55 percent of households where police respond to domestic violence allegations. There aren't enough foster homes to take in all of the children who are negatively affected by domestic violence.
Indirect injuries to children from domestic violence
Even if the batterer never physically strikes the kids, they can get hit by flying objects tossed by the abuser at the victim. Babies held in their mothers' battered arms can suffer serious injuries when the abuser lashes out. As children age, they often try to protect their battered parent and wind up hurt.
The injuries can be more insidious, with higher rates of juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse in abused children. Worse, they frequently go on to perpetuate the cycle.
Break the cycle by seeking help
No one wants to be reduced to a domestic violence statistic, yet summoning the strength to alter one's circumstances after years of battering and verbal abuse can be monumentally difficult. That's why building a strong support circle is paramount before fleeing abusive relationships.
Break your cycle of domestic violence by calling the National 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. They can help with immediate needs like finding safe shelter for you and your children. Once you are physically safe, shelters often can offer referrals for legal advice and obtaining orders of protection.
Don't jeopardize your or your children's safety another day. Get the assistance you need to break the cycle of domestic violence that has you trapped.