In 2017, when Becky was about to turn 40, she woke up in the middle of the night and was startled by her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her face, gaunt from weight loss, looked pale. A scar snaked under her chin from when her boyfriend punched her. Her nostrils were now asymmetrical from when he broke her nose. Smaller scars marked her eyebrows and her bottom lip, where a tooth once cut through. She always wore her hair in a bun to mask a bald spot; he had slammed her head against a door frame, and she had needed staples there. She could barely hear from one ear.
Her chipped front tooth was harder to hide than the broken molars knocked loose during two decades of beatings. When she went shopping, she would hold items in her hands, assessing how much damage they would do to her body. She had stopped buying leather belts, the braided kind. She remembered getting some of her injuries. With others, the memories hung fuzzy and distant.
They met in 1996, when she was a teenager with a new baby. She had already spent years raising her younger siblings when her own mother, who suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of domestic abuse, could not. The first time Becky remembers her boyfriend hurting her, about six months into their relationship, was when he was joking around: a tug on her hair that was surprisingly forceful. Underneath the laughing, something felt mean. And then the meanness got darker.
From the beginning of their relationship, Becky’s boyfriend drew the reins tightly around their lives. She could never predict what would set him off. Some days, he attacked her for sleeping too late; others, for waking him up too early. He hit her when the house was too messy or if he wasn’t in the mood for the breakfast she made. Becky, who asked to be identified by a nickname for her safety, often showed up to work with bruises on her face, caked over with foundation, but her co-workers never said anything… To keep ready please click here.
CITATION: Hillstrom, Christa. “The Hidden Epidemic of Brain Injuries From Domestic Violence.” The New York Times Magazine. March 1, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/26/femicide-us-silent-epidemic?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other.
Becky at home in February. She endured two decades of beatings from a boyfriend.
Credit – Dannielle Bowman for The New York Times.
“One in four women experience severe violence in their lifetime.” Domestic abuse not only derives from physical violence, it can also be psychological too. This article discusses how ‘coercive control’– a form of psychological abuse– which involves acts of entrapment, creeping isolation, financial restrictions and threats of emotional and physical harm are used to strip victims of their own power. Coercive control is a stepping stone to domestic violence, however law enforcement officers do not take the reports made by women seriously because it does not result in physical scarring or hospitalization. States like California, New York and Connecticut are changing this narrative by developing and passing laws that allow coercive behaviors to be introduced into evidence of domestic violence. To learn more about the stories of women who have been victims of coercive control and how lawmakers are addressing this issue, please visit https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/22/us/cori-bush-fka-twigs-coercive-control.html?searchResultPosition=1
CITATION: Ryzik, M., & Benner, K. (2021, January 22). What Defines Domestic Abuse? Survivors Say It’s More Than Assault. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/22/us/cori-bush-fka-twigs-coercive-control.html?searchResultPosition=1.
“Women are on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in health care settings and in-home care, in the family and in the public sphere. While data are still scarce, it is evident that women are essential actors in this unfolding worldwide crisis. I call on all countries to accelerate efforts towards the empowerment of women and girls and towards improving the evidence base to monitor progress: data gaps in the coverage of key gender topics need to be filled, timeliness and comparability of data over time and across countries need to be improved, and data disaggregation and dissemination by age, sex, location and other key variables need to become a priority in order to fully measure and address intersecting inequalities, respond to crises, and ensure gender equality by 2030.”
Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin
Worldwide, women everyday are impacted by gender based violence. For instance, there are an estimated 736 million women who have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life; women and girls account for 72% of all human trafficking victims; and 15 million girls, ages 15-19, have experienced forced sex by a spouse, partner or boyfried. The UN Women established a global database which compiles data on the forms and rates of gender-based violence and the actions taken by governments worldwide to address violence against women and girls. In response to gender based violence, 155 countries passed laws on domestic violence, 140 countries have laws protecting against sexual harassment in the workplace, and 121 countries have adopted measures to strengthen services for women survivors of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the global data and policy responses, please visit https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures.
A growing epidemic in the United States and beyond, femicide is the gender-based killings of women/girls for simply being a woman/girl. As reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for girls and women one to nineteen years old, and the fifth leading cause of death for women twenty to forty-four.” Who are the perpetrators? Nationwide statistics reveal that an overwhelming majority of the women killed in the United States are at the hands of a current or former intimate male partner. In the female homicides in 2018, alone, “92% of cases involved women or girls killed by a man they knew, 63% of whom were killed by current husbands, ex-husbands or current boyfriends.” With nearly three women killed per day, with disproportionate rates for women of color, intimate gendered killings are happening at an alarming rate. With the needs of women and girls consistently swept under the rug, gender-based violence continues to take the lives of many innocent women and girls. As domestic violence is turning lethal, there must be a strengthening of laws to protect violence against women, inlcuding mandatory arrests for someone accused of domestic violence. To learn more about the alarming statistics on gender based violence in America and proposed ways to solve this silent epidemic, please visit https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/26/femicide-us-silent-epidemic?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
CITATION: Hackman, Rose. “Femicides in the US: The Silent Epidemic Few Dare to Name.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, September 26, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/26/femicide-us-silent-epidemic?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other.