Nov 22, 2021
With Susie Feldman, domestic violence survivor
Did you know that since the pandemic began there’s been an alarming increase in the reports of domestic and intimate partner violence? According to a study posted in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, domestic violence cases increased by 25‒33% globally in 2020. Especially concerning is the report that intimate partner violence often goes unreported and underdiagnosed by physicians. If you’re not familiar with the term, the definition of intimate partner violence is “physical, emotional, psychological, or economic abuse, stalking, or sexual harm by a current or former partner or spouse.”
Even now, as the nation mourns the tragic loss of Gabby Petito, a beautiful 22-year-old that died violently at the hands of her boyfriend, many people still don’t fully grasp just how widespread the problem of domestic violence is right now. For example, did you know that according to a published crime statistic, 16% of homicides are committed by a partner? Furthermore, according to the CDC, 25% of women and 10% of men experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. These statistics are based only on reported cases; most domestic violence cases go unreported. In the case of Gabby Petito, all of the classic signs of a long-term pattern of domestic violence and domestic abuse were present. When the police were called to investigate reports that Brian Laundrie physically assaulted Gabby in full view of several witnesses, instead of pressing charges she took responsibility for the incident by claiming she provoked it and covered for him. This happens all too often in cases of domestic violence where the victim is too afraid or ashamed to report the abuser. Sadly, this wasn’t an isolated incident. With the couple’s relationship being characterized as “turbulent” and “unstable,” the signs were all there but all too often the abuse goes unnoticed while the victim stays silent out of fear, love, or a misguided sense of loyalty. Since domestic violence knows no boundaries and affects all races, ages, religions, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and educational levels, it’s become a universal problem. Given the statistics, the chances of it happening to someone we know is very possible. Would you be able to recognize the signs of domestic violence in another person?
In January of 2020, I interviewed the Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Susie Feldman. Susie is also a survivor of domestic violence. Despite her courage in escaping her abuser and her resilience in building a wonderful new life for herself and her children, it’s nonetheless a sobering reminder that we never truly know what goes on behind closed doors. In this episode, Susie helps answer some very important questions such as, “How can we help someone else if we suspect abuse? What are the signs? Where can a victim of abuse turn for help?” and more. She courageously shares her story and strength, as well as resources for how to escape an abusive relationship.
What You’ll Hear in This Episode:
Today’s Takeaway: We like to think of our homes as our safe place, but what if someone we know is in an abusive relationship? Right now, families are spending more time together in close quarters and reports of domestic violence are increasing. Victims often stay silent; afraid to confide in even friends or family. That silence takes a toll. Maintaining our emotional health is just as important as maintaining our physical health. During the pandemic, finding a safe haven could be more difficult but make a plan. Knowledge is power. If you or someone you love is in an abusive situation, don’t hesitate to call for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE. (7233) Every single day is a gift, and we should all feel safe and loved in our own homes. I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”
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Mentioned in This Episode:
Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE