Like much of America, I have spent the past two weeks closely monitoring the case of Gabrielle Petito, the 22 year old Instagrammer who went missing and was later found dead while on a road trip with her partner, Brian Laundrie.
While we don’t yet know whether this young woman was murdered by her partner, we do know there was ongoing abuse in their relationship. The fact is that intimate partner violence (IPV) is an epidemic in this country.
In the same news cycle, singer R. Kelly was found guilty on all counts and convicted of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges for a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex. This crime went on for thirty years because sadly, legal experts who study sexual abuse say black women have historically been far more likely than white women to have their accusations about sexual misconduct distrusted or ignored.
There are unique qualities when one experiences abuse by someone who has abused their power or when we are intentionally harmed by someone who we are in an intimate relationship with.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic violence is not always easy to spot. It doesn’t always come with bruises or a black eye. Victims may not always be in imminent danger, but rather feel controlled or intimidated, be coerced with verbal threats, or intentionally being manipulated in order to be controlled, all signs of abuse. Domestic violence is ongoing and often escalating.
Domestic violence is the umbrella term used to describe instances of ANY type of abuse: verbal, emotional, financial, sexual, elder abuse, trauma bonding and coercive control.
Numbers That Tell a Story
- Nearly one-third of women ages 15 to 49 have been targets of physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. (Source)
- In the United States, more than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. (Source)
- Women between ages 20 and 24 are at the highest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
- Homicide is one of the leading causes of death of women under 44 years of age, with nearly half of the victims killed by a current or former intimate partner. (Source). Statistics show this equates to 2,000 to 3,000 women a year killed by their partners – and this could very well be the case for Gaby Petito.
Help & Resources Abound
One of the best and most comprehensive resources available for anything abuse-related is DomesticShelters.org. This organization offers offers updated statistics, support for anyone who is currently in or attempting to leave an abusive situation, support for those who’s loved ones are being abused, as well as countless books, videos, articles, lists, phone numbers and more. If you’re interested in learning more about DV, click below to download a comprehensive guide.
If you or anyone you know are in immediate danger, please respond to this email or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24/7 at 800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org to chat online.
The Emergency Bracelet I Love
What if you could get out of unsafe situations before they escalate? Flare is a Bluetooth-connected bracelet that allows anyone to get out of unsafe situations discreetly with the push of a button. And the best part – it looks like a regular, fashionable bracelet.
Receive a 20% discount with code NADINEMACALUSO20
There IS Good News Though
Women are awakening to the power of their individual and collective voices. The #MeToo movement has ushered in small but powerful victories and Governor Cuomo’s relatively swift resignation is the latest win in this area. Yet there is still more awareness to be raised. Stepping into your power, stopping abusive treatment and taking the courageous steps to heal and grow begin with awareness and recognition.
If you or someone you know have experienced domestic abuse, I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of my book Trauma Bond Free: A Therapists’s Guide to Healing from Traumatic Love – only $14.99 and $1 of every sale helps four women in need.
Check out the resrouces in this email and forward to anyone who might find it helpful. Stay proactive by learning the facts, identifying the signs or purchasing a wearable emergency bracelet. Ending domestic violence is a marathon we’re all running together!
With hope and care,