Ending a marriage is never easy. However, for victims of domestic and intimate partner violence leaving a marriage or relationship may be the most dangerous thing they ever attempt to do. It is estimated that 75 percent of women who are killed by their intimate partners are murdered at the time they attempt to leave or just after they have left the abusive relationship.
Sadly, domestic and intimate partner violence is no stranger to the State of Oklahoma.
- It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Oklahoma have experienced violence by an intimate partner.
- According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, Oklahoma ranked 3rd in the country for the largest number of women killed in domestic violence related homicides for the past two years in a row.
- A 2013 Center for Disease Control’s National Violence against Women Survey found that the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner to be greater in Oklahoma than any other state.
- It is estimated that a third of all women murdered in Oklahoma are killed by their husbands.
- A study by the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Task Force found that 41 percent of all homicides in Oklahoma were linked to domestic violence.
Despite its prevalence, often people are not necessarily familiar with what domestic or intimate partner abuse looks like. Most individuals tend to think of domestic abuse as an act of physical violence. While physical violence, like hitting, punching, shoving, kicking, biting and throwing of objects, can and does occur, it is not the only type of abuse from which victim suffer.
Just as serious as physical abuse is emotional or verbal abuse. Emotional abuse can include things like yelling, trying to control the victim, belittling the victim, tearing down the victim’s self-esteem, and threatening physical violence or other forms of abuse against the victim or her children. Sexual abuse is another form of abuse. Abusers may try to force their victim to engage in sexual behavior that victim does not wish to do.
The scariest part about domestic and intimate partner abuse is that it knows no boundaries. Individuals of both sexes, all races, and of any age can and do become victims. Domestic violence does not discriminate against education level, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or religious beliefs. Intimate partner violence can strike in urban, suburban and rural communities alike. No one is safe.
The most important things to remember if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship are:
- Victims are never to blame for the abuse. The abuser alone is responsible for his or her behavior.
- Abusers do not necessarily act awful all of the time. Abusers can be nice and do nice things. However, over time victims notice that these periods of niceness or calm only occur right after an abusive episode and do not last long.
- If you or your children are in danger, get help. Contact a domestic violence hotline, reach out to a trusted friend or family member, or call the police or 911.
If you are in abusive or violence relationship and are considering leaving the marriage, it is important to seek the counsel of one of our experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, if at all possible. Domestic violence is not to be taken lightly and leaving an abusive relationship is a dangerous time for a victim. In speaking with an Oklahoma Family Law Attorney, he or she can advise you how to best protect yourself and your children. To make an appointment with one of our skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.