Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gender Should Not Be a Factor in Ending Domestic Violence

In Pennsylvania, lawmakers spent some time last week debating whether or not to designate the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month under a bill that Representative John Siptroth brings to the floor each year. While it was introduced as a “noncontroversial resolution,” the bill gained its share of controversy on Thursday when Representative Daryl Metcalfe blocked the bill, declaring it had a “homosexual agenda.” When asked later, the Representative stated that he had a problem with a phrase in the resolution that read, “one in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape."

While most of us think of domestic violence as occurring to women, this incident brings home the fact that men also suffer as victims of domestic violence – from female and male partners. What matters in the end is not the gender of the person committing the violence or the gender of the victim – what matters is that over 2 million women and men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. Beyond the immediate physical damage, domestic violence leaves behind a lifetime of physical, psychological, and economic impacts on its survivors.

At PathWays PA, many of our clients have been victims of domestic violence, as have our staff. Please ask your legislators to support Representative Siptroth’s resolution to make October Domestic Violence Awareness month.


Below are some other facts on domestic violence taken from the resolution:

  • One in every four women and one in every nine men will experience domestic violence in his or her lifetime.
  • One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • 30 percent to 60 percent of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home.
  • Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

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