Domestic Violence Fits No Stereotype
With the recent headlines featuring Judge Lance Mason and NFL Player Ray Rice, it is important to discuss the facts about domestic violence. People think domestic violence batterers are shady characters who wear wife-beaters, live in urban ghettos and are chronically unemployed. The truth is, your neighbor is a domestic violence batterer.
Many people tend to think that domestic violence exists only in minority or poor communities; this couldn’t be further from the truth. Domestic violence exists in all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, religions, geographical locations, education level, professions, sexual orientation and more.
For many years, Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC) operated a batterers’ intervention program in our community. The offenders that participated in this program included: physicians, lawyers, judges, sports newscasters, TV anchors, professional athletes, and many other high paid and professional individuals. Additionally, DVCAC advocates are very busy in the suburban court systems protecting victims and helping hold offenders accountable. Last year, our Justice System Advocacy Program served over 1700 victims whose offenders lived in the suburbs.
#1 Police Call in Cities and Most Suburbs
Not only is domestic violence the number one police call in all major metropolitan cities, but it is also the #1 call in most suburbs as well. This usually shocks people due to myths that we adhere to.
Domestic violence is a crime that is grossly under-reported. Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. Taking in consideration that 1 in 4 women will experience physical abuse by an intimate partner in her lifetime, the fear and shame associated with domestic violence keep many from reporting it. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, only 27 percent of women who were physically assaulted by an intimate partner reported their assault to law enforcement (National Institute of Justice, 2009)
Domestic Violence in Maple Heights
The chart below shows the number of calls received by the Maple Heights Police Department reporting Domestic Violence.
Silent Survivors in Cuyahoga County
In 2012, DVCAC, in conjunction with Megan R. Holmes, Ph.D. of the Mandel School of Applied Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, created a map to debunk the myth that domestic violence only happens in inner city neighborhoods. The attached Silent Survivors Map displays the rate of domestic violence incidents projected per household for each suburb in Cuyahoga County in 2011, following the research statistics. Although factors such as poverty may increase the risk factor, suburban residents can, and do, suffer the same trauma and harm as residents in inner city neighborhoods. Research and statistics indicate that residents in Westlake, North Olmsted, Strongsville and Cleveland Heights should have a much higher rate of domestic violence than is being reported.
Domestic Violence affects everyone. It impacts criminality, health care costs, academic performance of children exposed to violence in the home and so much more. Increasing awareness, offering support to victims and holding perpetrators accountable are good first steps for every community in creating a new social norm. Giving victims a voice and stop allowing domestic violence batterers to hide behind their BMW’s and important job titles is another.
Help for Domestic Violence Victims
To learn more about domestic violence, please access our website: www.dvcac.org. If you suspect or know a domestic violence victim, give them our 24-hour helpline: 216-391-HELP (4357).