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10 Domestic violence facts we should all be taking very seriously

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

The unsettling truth about domestic violence in our nation

Despite the important steps our nation has taken to address the issue of domestic violence, the problem still remains pervasive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 10 million women and men are victims of domestic violence each year in the United States. If that makes your stomach churn, it should. With such high rates, it is likely that you know someone who has been affected by domestic violence — or that you have been a victim yourself.

The CDC's survey report contains these 10 additional chilling facts that we all need to understand. With awareness and action, it is possible to provide better services to victims and collectively say, "Enough is enough."

1. Severe physical violence by an intimate partner is common

One in four women have experienced severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Severe violence includes being slammed against a wall, kicked, hit with a fist or hard object, choked or other extremely dangerous methods of violence.

More: The warning sign that could mean he's violent

2. The numbers are even higher for less severe forms of violence

The rates of violence are even higher when accounting for less severe forms of harm, like slapping, pushing or shoving. Nearly one in three women have experienced these less severe forms of domestic violence.

3. But men are at risk, too

Domestic violence is an issue that affects men, too. Roughly one in seven men have experienced violence from an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

4. Many women are impacted by stalking

Stalking is a slightly separate category than domestic violence, but it is highly correlated and many women who are victims of domestic violence also report stalking by their intimate partner or a former intimate partner. Approximately one in six women have experienced stalking behaviors during their lifetime.

More: My experience with domestic violence inspire me to become an advocate

5. Stalking is hard to define and police

Stalking is typically defined as unwanted phone calls or text messaging, watching or the stalker showing up at the victim's work or home. Unfortunately, if the stalker doesn't display escalation or a pattern to his or her behavior, it can be challenging to obtain effective intervention from law enforcement.

6. The consequences of domestic violence are far reaching

There are many negative consequences of domestic violence, besides a victim's injuries. Victims are more likely to experience chronic pain, poor physical health and poor mental health than their peers who are not victims of domestic violence.

7. Sexual violence is a form of domestic violence

Sometimes, a perpetrator uses sexual violence to maintain control over his or her intimate partner. The rate of sexual violence against women by an intimate partner is nearly one in 10.

8. Psychological aggression is an epidemic

When it comes to psychological aggression — which is defined as intimidation, dangerous anger and psychological insults — both women and men are at high risk. Nearly half of all Americans have experienced these forms of violence from an intimate partner.

9. Reproductive control is a form of violence

Sometimes perpetrators entrap their victims by taking control over their partners' reproduction. For instance, women typically have a harder time leaving a violent relationship if they have children with their partner. Nearly one in 10 women report that their partner tried to get her pregnant against her will, or refused to wear a condom when asked.

10. The cycle of violence often begins at a young age

About one in five victims of domestic violence report that their first experience of violence from an intimate partner began between ages of 11-17.

If you have ever experienced any form of violence from your intimate partner — whether it is physical, sexual or psychological — please reach out for help. I hope that these sobering statistics help you see that you are not alone, and you are not to blame. Call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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