The Effects of Domestic Violence

The Effects of Domestic Violence May be Long-Lasting

We know that domestic violence has negative effects on the victim. The impact depends upon the victim’s personality, the length and intensity of the abuse and the relationship with the abuser. The lingering effects include emotional, health and financial problems. Abuse damages family life, relationships and careers.

Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, more so than auto accidents, rapes, or muggings. In fact, the psychological and emotional abuse may be more costly to treat in the short-run than physical injury. Many of the physical injuries from the abuse may cause medical difficulties as women age. Arthritis, hypertension and heart disease may be directly caused or intensified by the battering that occurred as young adults. Many suffer from low self-esteem and trauma that is difficult to overcome, leaving the victim feeling isolated and disconnected for a significant period after the abuse has ended.

Women in abusive relationships may lose their jobs due to absenteeism because of illness, because of the violence or for court appearances. To avoid violence, they may have to move many times. This is costly and can interfere with employment. Battered women often lose family and friends because the batterer isolates them from their loved ones. The victim becomes embarrassed by the abuse inflicted upon them and may withdraw from persons that once supported them.

When women decide to leave their spouse, some may find themselves abandoned by their church because some religious doctrines prohibit divorce regardless of the abuse. Often, financial security is lost during divorce proceedings, leaving them impoverished as they become older. Children who live in abusive homes are likely to demonstrate behavioral and/or emotional problems, including psychosomatic disorders, stuttering, anxiety, fears, sleep disorders, excessive crying and difficulties at school.

Males who witness abuse of their mothers are more likely to become violent adults. Data suggests that females who witness maternal abuse may tolerate abuse as adults more than girls who do not. Intervention by law enforcement and domestic violence programs may diminish these negative effects. Early identification and treatment of the abused will lessen lingering consequences and the person’s self-confidence and trust in others will be restored.

WARNING: Both leaving and remaining in an abusive relationship can result in injury or even death of the victim. Victims who remain risk sustaining repeated injuries. Should one decide to leave, the abuser will likely attempt to find their victim; therefore, ALL precautions must be taken to be safe.

If you are the victim of abuse, contact local law enforcement if you are in immediate danger. Should you need to speak with someone to discuss your options, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-411-1333. For more information, contact the LaSalle Parish Victim Advocate at 318-992-2067.