from the USCCB
Domestic violence is a hidden scourge on our families and communities. Those who are victimized often keep it a private matter for various reasons: fear, shame, well-intended efforts to preserve the family. Aggressors, if they even recognize their problem, are not likely to have it addressed. Yet it touches many, and knows no boundaries of race, social class, ethnicity, creed or age (most victims are first abused as teens). Statistics suggest one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and three in four Americans are reported to know a victim, though most episodes are not reported to the authorities. Although the majority of victims are female, an estimated 15% are males.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse are typically used together in a relationship to control the victim. Persons may be married, living together, or dating. Examples of emotional abuse include name-calling, putdowns, restricting contact with family or friends, withholding money, preventing a partner from working, actual or threatened physical harm (hitting, pushing, shoving), sexual assault, stalking, and intimidation. In The Gospel of LifeBlessed John Paul II highlighted the gravity of the issue: "At the root of every act of violence against one's neighbor there is a concession to the 'thinking' of the evil one, the one who 'was a murderer from the beginning' (Jn 8:44)." He also outlined the importance of the family as the primary community of life and love in which children are nurtured. How vital it is, then, to understand how to keep family members safe from violence in their homes, and how to heal and reunite families where violence has occurred, when possible.
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If you believe someone you know may be in a troubled situation, you should call a domestic violence hotline number for assistance, or encourage the person to call the hotline or emergency services themselves. The National Domestic Hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)