Prevalence of Domestic Abuse

I’ve been asked by a certain forum (Equality Central where they make even comps feel welcome 🙂 ) to write a series of articles related to domestic abuse and its relationship to certain wrong teachings of Scripture (patriocentricity/complementarian of the extreme sort).  I feel this is a relavent topic for our day and time and, as I have become aware of more and more unbiblical teachings of this sort creeping into our churches, believe it is imperative to make others aware of the dangers.  If you are interested in a good discussion on patriocentricity check out True Womanhood and read the Praire Muffin Manifesto discussion.

I’ve decided to post the series of articles here as well as I write them for those of you who wish to read them.  Please feel free to comment, etc. as you feel led.  I am very interested in hearing other’s views, experiences, ideas, etc.

The Bible states that all human beings, male and female, are made in the image of God, and have the same dignity and value in God’s sight (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:2-3; Acts 17:25-26; James 3:9). Believers are commanded to respect and honor each other and to be concerned with each other’s welfare (Romans 12:10-16; 15:1-2; Galatians 6:2; Colossians 3:11).  Abuse is the antithesis of these statements. 

In being asked to develop posts on abuse and abuse related issues as they pertain to a Biblical equality point of view, it occurred to me that many who might be reading this will not be as familiar as I am with the prevalence of abuse.  It’s difficult to comprehend just how big a problem it is in our country unless you are faced with the various people from all walks of life which are affected by it.   I thought I would post some statistics from the US Department of Justice as it relates to the US.  For those of you in other countries, let me know if you’re interested and I’ll research those as well.  Let me point out that these statistics only include reported physical abuse and not emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse.

Statistics About Domestic Abuse

Approximately 95% of the victims of domestic violence are women.
Every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted and beaten.
4,000,000 women a year are assaulted by their partners.

In the United States, a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped, or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant.

Every day, 4 women are murdered by boyfriends or husbands.

Prison terms for killing husbands are twice as long as for killing wives.

93% of women who killed their mates had been battered by them. 67% killed them to protect themselves and their children at the moment of murder.

20% of all crime is domestic abuse.

70% of men who batter their partners either sexually or physically abuse their children.

Domestic violence is the number one cause of emergency room visits by women.

73% of the battered women seeking emergency medical services have already separated from the abuser.

Women are most likely to be killed when attempting to leave the abuser. In fact, they’re at a 75% higher risk than those who stay.

The number-one cause of women’s injuries is abuse at home. This abuse happens more often than car accidents, mugging, and rape combined.

Up to 37% of all women experience battering. This is an estimated 566,000 women in Minnesota alone.

Battering often occurs during pregnancy. One study found that 37% of pregnant women, across all class, race, and educational lines, were physically abused during pregnancy.

60% of all battered women are beaten while they are pregnant.

34% of the female homicide victims over age 15 are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands, or boyfriends.

2/3 of all marriages will experience domestic violence at least once.

Weapons are used in 30% of domestic violence incidents.

Approximately 1,155,600 adult American women have been victims of one or more forcible rapes by their husbands.

Over 90% of murder-suicides involving couples are perpetrated by the man. 19-26% of male spouse-murderers committed suicide.

When only spouse abuse was considered, divorced or separated men committed 79% of the assaults and husbands committed 21%.

Abusive husbands and lovers harass 74% of employed battered women at work, either in person or over the telephone, causing 20% to lose their jobs.

Physical violence in dating relationships ranges from 20-35%.

It is estimated that between 20% to 52% of high school and college age dating couples have engaged in physical abuse.

More than 50% of child abductions result from domestic violence.

Injuries that battered women receive are at least as serious as injuries suffered in 90% of violent felony crimes.

In 1991, only 17 states kept data on reported domestic violence offenses. These reports were limited to murder, rape, robbery, and serious bodily injury.

More than half of battered women stay with their batterer because they do not feel that they can support themselves and their children alone.

In homes where domestic violence occurs, children are abused at a rate 1,500% higher than the national average.

Up to 64% of hospitalized female psychiatric patients have histories of being physically abused as adults.

50% of the homeless women and children in the U.S. are fleeing abuse.

The amount spent to shelter animals is three times the amount spent to provide emergency shelter to women from domestic abuse situations.




8 thoughts on “Prevalence of Domestic Abuse

  1. thatmom says:

    Sandy, thank you for posting these. They are really sobering and convicting.

    When I was growing up, there was a lady who lived next door to us who frequently had bruises, black eyes, and a swollen lip. Being a small child, my mom and dad didn’t say much of what was going on but I saw the guy come home drunk and I heard the yelling. It was terrifying and I was always so thankful that they had no children. He died in his mid-20’s and it was almost a relief to me.

    Have you seen the movie The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio? It is the true story of an abusive father and the wife who remained with him. It takes place in the 50’s and I know you would really appreciate the story in that it accurately shows what so many of the women of that day went through at the hands of an abuser and how ill equipped everyone was to deal with it.

  2. Sandy says:

    I’ve not seen that movie but will look diligently for it now. I’m praying that I might be able to develop a clear Biblical response for those who are abused, those who are abusing, and those who are watching it happen. Even clergy are at a loss to know.

    I’ve recently been going around to area churches, meeting the pastors and letting them know how I can help them and their church members as a counselor. One of the issues the pastors always seem to bring up is the issue of how I counsel when women come to me about abuse. These are conerned men who are searching for the rght way in which to respond. I can tell that a few of them are haunted by their choices. Most of them have confessed that they have simply told the wife to leave and then felt guilty about it later. What a shame that is. To feel guilty over maybe saving someone’s life.

  3. thatmom says:

    Sandy, the line in conservative churches is to never leave, which I know you know. And who knows what each marriage partner brings to their union that establishes the patterns they use for dealing with problems? I have known so many people who just assume that marriage relationships are supposed to look like what their parents’ relationship did, no matter how ‘dysfunctional” it was. Somehow, if it was the norm in the 40’s or 50’s, it but be “conservative and right.” The truth is, in retrospect, that was a very, very dysfunctional time for marriage and the family in many ways. I have a whole about the post WW2 family I will tell you about some time!

  4. Sandy says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the post WW2 family! I agree that the line in conservative churches is to never leave. I beg to differ with that line and believe that beatings are Biblical grounds for leaving. One Scripture that many non Jewish believers don’t understand is in Ex. 21 where it discusses marital rights for women. Most Jewish scholars have always understood that to mean that women have certain rights within marriage including the right to not be abused. Here is a paper from Baylor University that explains some of this:

    I hold a strict view of divorce, personally, and do not counsel for divorce in most cases. I even believe that adultery does not necessarily mean divorce. I believe in forgiveness and working out a relationship through the Holy Spirit if at all possible. But it does not glorify God for a woman to be beaten time and time again. Dobson, Cloud & Townsend, etc. have all made good Biblical cases for leaving a man who is abusive.

    Did I understand correctly that you are working towards becoming a counselor now that your children are getting older?

  5. thatmom says:

    Sandy, great link. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

    I would be verfy slow to counsel someone to pursue divorce as well. I also believe that it is a mistake to lump divorce and remarriage together, as I believe the Bible shows them to be two different problems for believers. We need to discuss that sometime!

    I have a big interest in pursuing counseling at some point. My undergrad degree is in human relations, which was psychology, sociology, and anthropology. I have checked into various schools to pursue a masters in counseling but most of them give you only a certain amount of time to finish and since my elderly mom lives with us, I am not sure what the future is bringing for her and how much care she will need down the road….playing it by ear!

  6. […] 26, 2008 at 11:10 pm · Filed under Uncategorized Sandy is addressing the topics of physical abuse and emotional abuse on her blog this week. Be sure to check it out and compare some of her comments […]

  7. blaueteufelin says:

    Thanks for posting this. Can I get your permission to reproduce these stats elsewhere? With proper credit, of course.

  8. Sandy says:

    Absolutely you may reproduce these stats elsewhere. Please just credit the US Department of Justice.

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