By Grace Bushard and Molly Hicken
COOK COUNTRY, MINNESOTA October 8, 2022 (LSNews) The Impact of Intimate Partner Violence, and How to Stop it Before it Starts
Thirty-three percent of Minnesota women and twenty-five percent of Minnesota men experience intimate partner physical violence (IPV), intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. Along with physical and sexual violence, people often experience emotional abuse, financial abuse and live in an environment of control where they are isolated from friends and relatives. One in five homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners. Physical injury is the result of IPV for a third of women who are victims and one in ten men. Those effected by IPV even have increased risk of asthma, heart disease, stroke, chemical dependency, depression, and anxiety.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Everyone should understand the full cost of intimate partner violence (sometimes called “domestic violence”) and be able to recognize the signs of it, because the impact of IPV extends far beyond the traumatic events that occur between two individuals.
Children Experience Harm Even if not Physically Hurt. Children exposed to seeing a parent hurt by domestic abuse may suffer long-term consequences even when they aren’t the target of violence. For example, they may live in fear of losing one or both parents because of threats to kill the abused parent, or threats by the abuser to kill themselves (often motivated by wishing to increase control). Witnessing abuse at home creates anxiety, stress, and emotional challenges. Children are distracted from school, play, and relationships by their worry about what is happening at home. They may be less resilient. Living in a situation of chronic stress and trauma can actually result in changes to the developing brain and excessive physical stress that can result in harmful behaviors such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and early sexual activity. Children who grow up in homes where there is chronic stress related to violence may learn to believe violence and abuse are “normal” and may have a difficult time developing healthy, secure relationships.
Social Cost. Though IPV and DV leave a painful mark on the individuals and family, there is also a significant cost to society. According to the CDC, in 2003, direct health care costs of DV was greater than $4 billion dollars. Victims of IPV lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year. They need time off from work to seek medical attention, obtain restraining orders, or try to find a safe place to stay. Others can’t work when the abuser disables their car, sabotages childcare arrangements or controls access to money, leaving them unable to take other forms of transportation. They may also take or destroy the phone so that the survivor can’t call in to work, thus placing their job at risk. Those who attempt to intervene in abusive relationships; including friends, relatives, and first responders; are also at risk of harm by abusers.
Characteristics of Unhealthy Relationships. Abusive relationships rarely begin with violence. Recognizing the unhealthy characteristics of relationships that turn violent is one way that people can avoid intimate partner violence. Onelove foundation has identified 10 Signs of Unhealthy Relationships that indicate abuse and the potential for violence in the future:
- Possessiveness: When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do.
- Manipulation: When someone tries to control your decisions, actions, or emotions.
- Isolation: When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people.
- Sabotage: When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success.
- Intensity: When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the-top behavior that feels overwhelming.
- Belittling: When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself.
- Guilting: When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy.
- Volatility: When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused, or intimidated.
- Deflecting Responsibility: When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior.
- Betrayal: When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way.
If you recognize any of the above elements in your relationship or in the relationship of a friend or family member, do not ignore them. This is a relationship that could become dangerous. get help Local resources include Violence Prevention Center (218) 387-1262 or violencepreventioncenter.org, Grand Portage Human Services (218) 375-2166 or Cook County Public Health and Human Services (218) 387-3620.
All people have the right to live free from violence; assaulting or abusing someone in the home is not legal. Although the system is not perfect, advocates can assist you in learning about how to use the legal system to protect yourself and your children. IPV/DV is a societal problem and using the legal system to address the situation is one step of reducing the IPV/DV.
Sources: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ncadv.org), National Association of Social Workers (www.socialworkers.org), Onelove Foundation (joinonelove.org).
County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service
By Grace Bushard, Children and Family Services Supervisor and Molly Hicken, Cook County Attorney
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About Cook County Minnesota
Cook County is at the tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead region in the remote northeastern part of the state, stretching from the shores of Lake Superior to the US-Canada border. By land it borders Ontario, Canada to the north, and Lake County, MN to the west. The highest point in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain is 2,301 feet and the highest lake, Total Area equals 3,339.72 sq miles
Cook County is home to three nationally protected areas:
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