According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four women have experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. 1 Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. 2 3.3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year.3 According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, “232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day.”4 The Bureau of Justice reported in 1995, women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner. On average, intimate partners murder more than three women and one man in the United States every single day. 2 Even more alarming, 74% of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. That means that statistically speaking, you personally know at least one domestic violence victim. It could be your professor or your student, a co-worker or your neighbor. It could even be your mother, your sister, or your daughter.
However, violence in the household does not end with women. The abuse and neglect of children is also a pressing issue that many domestic violence advocates try to address as well. In fact, child abuse in the United States has recently grown worse. In Appendix 1 is a graph displaying the number of child deaths per day due to child abuse in the US; from 1998 to 2010, it has risen from 3.13 to 5. This gives the United States the worst record in the industrialized nation.15 Each year, 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving 6 million children; reports can include multiple children. 16 Other disturbing statistics include the frequency of reports of child abuse, one report every ten seconds, and the estimation that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
The statistics do not lie about the severity of the domestic violence problem on a national and global level. It will affect 75% of American citizens sometime in their lifetime, regardless of their age, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, income level, or gender. For many of these victims, those effects may have life-changing, or even life-ending, consequences. Although the United States has passed a comprehensive set of legislation on domestic violence, I still believe there is much more our government can do to help prevent domestic violence and help victims. In my paper, I will present a comprehensive set of facts on how domestic violence affects our country, what is already in place to help prevent domestic violence, and what more can be done.