Domestic abuse occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage attempts to use force, dominate, or control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is also referred to as “domestic violence”. Domestic violence and abuse are used to gain and maintain total control over the victim—abusers use guilt, shame, fear, and intimidation tactics to wear a victim down. In many instances, abusers may threaten, hurt, and intimidate a victim’s loved ones.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate—it happens among both heterosexual and same-sex partnerships within all age ranges, economic levels, and ethnic backgrounds.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Massachusetts
- More than 33,000 women and children are served by domestic violence programs in Massachusetts on average every year.
- 2,500 sexual assaults were reported to rape crisis centers in Massachusetts in 2010.
- 11% of Massachusetts’ adults report having experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
- SafeLink, Massachusetts’ statewide domestic violence hotline has answered approximately 13,000 calls in 2011 so far.
- Between 2003 and 2010, 222 Massachusetts victims were killed in domestic violence and domestic violence related homicides.
- A 2003 study concluded that 1 in 7 adult women in Massachusetts have been victims of one or more completed forcible rapes during their lifetime.
- In 2005, almost 30,000 protection orders were issued in the state of Massachusetts.
Domestic abuse escalates from verbal abuse and threats to actual violence. Physical injury is a very obvious danger, the psychological and emotional consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Abuse relationships can destroy an individual’s self-worth and lead to anxiety, depression, helplessness. No one should endure this pain—once you acknowledge the abusive situation you are in, you can get the help you need. Massachusetts residents, if you believe you are involved in an abusive relationship, don’t hesitate to get help.