Domestic Violence in the Workplace

A Domestic Violence Statistics guest post by Kristina Morris.

Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Domestic violence involves physical and emotional abuse behaviors directed toward another party in a relationship. The primary purpose of domestic violence is to control the party the actions are directed against. No one is immune to domestic violence. It affects both women and men, gay and straight, married and unmarried, young and old. It cuts across all racial, religious, socioeconomic and demographic lines. According to CrisisPrevention.com domestic violence is responsible for more individual harm than muggings, rapes and car accidents each year. The seriousness of these incidents cannot be overstated. A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Justice, found that over two million victims annually report physical or sexual assaults at the hands of an intimate partner.

Domestic violence and its effects spill over into the workforce on a regular basis. The statistics are staggering, yet often overlooked. The Family Violence Prevention Fund notes that 74 percent of working, battered women are harassed by their partners while at the workplace. The U.S Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2000, found homicide to be the second leading cause of death on the job. The number of rapes and sexual assaults committed against women on the job number above 25,000 according to the U.S Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor. Further, over one million women are stalked annually in the United States and at least of quarter of them admit to missing work due to the stalking. The effects of domestic violence in the workplace are felt by employees and employers alike. Productivity, absenteeism, job loss and increased health insurance cost are all results of domestic violence. A report by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department entitled “Domestic Violence and the Workplace” cites that domestic violence costs employers between $3-5 billion each year.

Employee Effects

Lack of productivity occurs as a result of the victim being distracted. Inability to concentrate is often due to worrying about being harassed on the phone or in-person, legal/court responsibilities and depression.

Missing work or showing up late to work is often symptomatic of domestic violence. Injury, shame and outside medical or legal responsibilities often contribute to absence or tardiness.

Job loss is an unfortunate side effect of domestic violence. According to CrisisPrevention.com studies show that anywhere from 25% all the way up to 90% of victims had lost a job or resigned as a result of these issues.

The stigma of being a domestic violence victim continues to be a major issue. It forces victims to miss work, hide or lie to family and friends at work. Less than half of all victims report their situation to their supervisors according to the American Institute on Domestic Violence. Even with all of the statistics surrounding domestic violence in the workplace many employers maintain a hands-off approach to dealing with the matter.

Employer Actions

Employers are aware that domestic violence has a negative effect on the workplace. They know that it affects productivity and attendance. Companies are also aware that domestic violence increases their health insurance costs. They also know that workplace conditions would improve if the matters were addressed within the business. Employers can actively engage in preventing, or reducing, the effects of domestic violence on the workplace, by implementing several different approaches.

Several options exist for companies that seek to take a more active role in suppressing the effects of domestic violence. Companies should have a defined domestic violence workplace policy in effect, complete with security measures and leave policies. Both managers and employees should undergo training and have access to educational materials. Alliances with domestic violence prevention organizations, educators and law enforcement should be established. Even using health plans that have domestic violence services, including counseling, would be beneficial. Ultimately, until employers take an active role in workplace domestic violence issues, things will not change. Hopefully with education and awareness change will come.

My story; like many others…

A domestic violence story by Christine Davis.

 

I married my son’s father the week after I turned 18; I had second thoughts while walking down the aisle but felt the conviction for my son to have his father and legally be married would bring less shame to myself and my family. He was usually so nice to me, except when I was pregnant, the first time; he was angry as if it was my fault alone. His kindness seemed to come to a screeching halt the night of our honeymoon… he brought a friend along, decided to get drunk and tell me at 135lbs, and measuring 38-28-38 that I was “fat, lazy and no good”… we didn’t consummate the marriage that night, I went to sleep with my son next to me and my husband partied into the wee hours of the night.

Later there would be coerced escapades staged that I was to take part in with him and his friends, that made me feel so small, so worthless. He would use drugs and alcohol, his personality was not easy to read. If he had a bad day at work, I was the one who would get beat, or pushed, or emotionally abused until he felt better. He would put me down, not allow me to wear make-up because to him it was a sign I was trying to look good for his friends. Certain clothing was no longer allowed, my hair was never right. To try and strangle me, throw knives and keys with sharp objects on them became the norm. He would call multiple times a day; and if I had not answered by the 3rd ring; he was certain I was having an affair and I would get his wrath when he came home from work, we had a corded phone, so I had to drag it around the house with me, I had to pull the phone into the bathroom to bathe, to use the toilet whatever it took, as long as I could hear the phone and get it before the 3rd ring I was safe.

There was no visiting friends, or family alone, he would send me out to get him cigarettes really late at night and have me walk a few miles to get them; our neighborhood was scary at night with gangs infiltrating and random shootings. His type of abuse was very blatant and came on so quickly it seemed and so strong; I had no idea how I would escape. He never worked double shifts at work, and when he did stay away from home, he was having an affair; yet still managed to stay in contact at home by phone or by having a friend of his “check in on me”. If I mentioned my unhappiness and how I thought we should separate, or go to counseling, he was angry. He took parts out of my car so it wouldn’t start and hid them until he got home. Eventually he worked a double-shift for the first time in a year and a half. This was my opportunity. I had snuck a few cents or a dollar from him over the last year and had a little less than $25.00 to my name hidden in the closet. I called my family and told them what had been happening and that I had to get my children and I out of the house and I desperately needed their help, and I had 8 hours to get out with anything of importance. Family came from out of town, my mother opened her house to me and my two children, I was to find out a few days later that I had left him; 8 days pregnant with our 3rd child. He denied that she was his; spreading false rumors to our neighbors that I’d had an affair. I didn’t, she was his and looked just like his side of the family when she was born. I didn’t know a thing about how restraining orders worked back then, but I bluffed and said I had one and he was to stay away. Come to find out he’d been having numerous affairs and fathered a child with one woman he was with. I filed for divorce after our 3rd baby was born; he didn’t show up to court. I hadn’t heard from him again for 22 years. He never visited the kids; he was heavily into street drugs and drinking and had kept under the table jobs in order to not pay child support and even ended up homeless. Point is I had to find my courage to make a move, strategize and get help as soon as I could. My story doesn’t end there, but it’s enough for now.

What’s Worse: Physical Scars or Mental Scars?

A domestic violence guest post by Joseph Pittman.

 

If you asked anyone who hasn’t experienced psychological abuse what is worse: psychological or physical abuse, you’d probably hear the latter as the answer more frequently. When we think of physical abuse, we tend to think of it as more damaging because it leaves behind obvious reminders of its occurrence. Sometimes these take a transient form, as in bruises or cuts, but other times they may remain with us for a lifetime in the form of scars or permanent injury.

Someone who has endured psychological abuse bears scars of their own, however. Psychological abuse, also called emotional or mental abuse, involves behavior that creates mental trauma. The behavior can take the form of verbal attacks, controlling behavior, or jealous behavior and can involve intimidation, threats, and forced isolation from friends and family.

Psychological abuse of this sort can cause long-lasting damage. It can result in the development of disorders like post-traumatic stressTypes of Domestic Violence disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, and/or depression. These problems may linger long after the abusive relationship has ended, thus begging the question: is mental abuse just as bad as physical abuse?

The research indicates that it is just as bad and, in some cases, may be worse. In a study of children who were exposed to violence in the home, one group of researchers found that the effects psychological abuse had on these children didn’t differ from that of physical abuse. They had higher rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (English et al., 2008). Another study indicates that the partner in a relationship who is psychological abused have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, and drug use (Hines & Malley-Morrson, 2001).

Another misconception regarding psychological abuse is that it is only perpetuated by men on women. This is perhaps due to the fact that more physical abuse is committed by men. However, mental abuse can be committed by men or women, and is severely damaging in either scenario.

Often one of the most damaging aspects of physical abuse is the fear that it inspires in the victim. Psychological abuse can inspire that same fear, however, even if the actions are never carried out. For example, a partner or parent may threaten their victim repeatedly with harm that will come to them or someone they love. As long as the belief that the action could be carried out exists, psychological damage is still done. It can create an ongoing sense of fear in the victim that can manifest as a number of psychological disorders.

The psychological disorders that come about due to emotional abuse tend to remain after the abusive relationship is over. They will also often affect the victim’s ability to engage in future relationships. In many cases, it will take years of therapy to return the victim to a healthy mind state.

While the signs of physical abuse are obvious, the indications of mental abuse may be easier to hide. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are any less damaging. For, while cuts and bruises may fade, mental scars remain, in some cases for a lifetime.

One Pair of Panties…”A True Story of Abuse, Survival and Victory”

A domestic violence story by Debra Bell-Vanzant.

 

My Prayer is that it will help somebody..Only you know when you are sick and tried of being sick and tried…

It was not easy, but anything you want in life, bad enough won’t be easy…
This is the introduction of my book and the end of a dark life and the beginning of a new.

My book Title is:
One Pair of Panties…”A True Story of Abuse, Survival and Victory” It will be avail. in July/2012…

About the Book
Debra Bell-Vanzant exposes how a family, who lived with abuse, adultery, lies and deception behind the closed doors of their seemingly perfect middle-class existence, crippled a precious little girl emotionally. It was a life that she never should have known. The story gives a riveting account of why this little girl became rebellious and felt forced to live on the streets of Chicago at the age of fourteen – lost, lonely and looking for love. It covers her life of drugs, abuse and more abuse at the hands of men, disgrace, shame, loss of self-respect and total abandonment by her family at such a young age.

This story is intended as an eye-opener for young girls, alerting them that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing just waiting for them to run away from their parents and into the streets. No longer a child, the woman described herein has lived a life of trials and tribulations, but overcame her struggles and is now a survivor of an apparently hopeless situation for over eighteen years.

The book will hopefully serve as inspiration for women currently trying to escape the cycle of abuse. By the grace and mercy of God, you will be able to make it through; not necessarily by duplicating the efforts of this woman, but by the path that the Heavenly Father has laid out for you.

This not a new story, but this is my story…

I’m here at the end, but yet the beginning of my life that at one time I thought, I would never see. But God… I made it by the Grace and Mercy of God, through Hope, Faith and Prayers, with a sincere heart and made up mind, but most of all, Prayers from my Na-na and from other people that were praying for me. I made it out of a life that had me racing straight to Hell!

I’ve grown a lot. There were parts of my past life that have taken me years to overcome, but I made. But God…

As I wrote the details of my life in the form of an open book, I wanted readers to know that it doesn’t matter what you went through in life or where you are right now in this present moment; there is a brighter day. The sun will shine and you will see a rainbow, you just have to hold on to God’s unchanging hand, and don’t look back.

Writing about my experiences in life helped me to realize, I had to go through what I went through, to get where I am now, and to see where I’m going!

During my difficult journey of writing my story, I had to go back to some dark, dark places that was scary and painful. I cried, I got angry and I even laughed at times, but all while I was going back down that path, I realized how truly Blessed I am; how God has given me favor and power over it all.

People have tried to pull me down, but come to find out I was my worst enemy. See sometimes we can blame other people for all the tragedies in our lives, but if we really stop and think about it we had a choice. Remember, that God gives us a choice, at our own will.

It was a serious battle for me to re-visit those dark places, to break the strongholds that Satan had on my soul and spirit; the barrier’s of my past. I had to realize that there will always be temptation, in my life. I know that Satan will never stop trying to lure me into his trap of destruction. It’s up to me now to do the will of the Lord in order for me to stay on this side of the battlefield.

I have shed many tears and endured heartaches and pain. I have suffered in this battle of life only to come out standing firm and staying suited up with my Armor of the Lord awaiting the next temptation/battle, and it is not easy!

There will always be trails and tribulations in our lives until we die, but God is able. We only have to make up our own minds which side of the battlefield we will stand on.

I would like to apologize to all the people I may have hurt while I was walking the path of destruction. To my children, I’m so sorry that Mama put you through that life. I would also like to say to my ex-husband, James that I forgive you for all the hurt and pain you caused me.

I released it all and I thank you for being part of my strength today; I will continue to pray for you.

I thank my Heavenly Father for Life, for the Battle of my Life and even more for helping me get to the other side of this Battlefield.

We all need to know that we have choices in our lives. You can stay in the situation that you’re in or you can remove yourself from people, places and things.

It is your choice of which way your life is going to continue in this race of what we call life.

I’ve told you my story of how I overcame the trials and tribulations of Abuse, Alcohol, Drugs and the Barriers of my Past.

If I can make it, you can to! Remember it’s your life; it’s your choice. The question is will you make the right decision and make it to the other side of this Battlefield?

I will pray that you do, I made it, so can you.