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40 Navy | Winter 2018 I n the beginning, I was so young and he was atten- tive. He said I was smart, funny, pretty and he made me feel special. It was only aer we were married that the angry words, shaming and verbal tearing apart started. Next, he became easily angered and physically abusive. He would say I deserved it, that it was my fault. … I would lie awake at night crying silently. Finally, one night as he was choking me, I broke free and ran out of the apartment, got into my car and le. I decided never again to live with that kind of violence and never again to be silent. Two words, one big concept — domestic violence. Domestic violence is any kind of behavior that a person uses to control an inti- mate partner through fear and intimidation. It includes physical, sexual, psychological, verbal and economic abuse. Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting indi- viduals in every commu- nity, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality. Younger, unmarried women are at greatest risk of domestic violence. According to a U.S. government survey, 53 percent of victims were abused by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend. One-third of all victims were abused by a spouse, while 14 percent said that the offender was an ex-spouse. Women ages 16 to 24 are nearly three times as vulnerable to attacks by intimate partners as those in other age groups; abuse victims between the ages of 35 and 49 run the highest risk of being killed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one in four women and one in seven men aged 18 and older in the United States have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Nearly 14percent of women and 4 percent of men have been injured as a result of intimate partner violence that included contact sexual violence, phys- ical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In 2010, 1,095 women and 241 men were murdered by an intimate partner. Domestic violence in the military is a well-kept secret. Many military families live on one income; the only source of financial security for the family is the active-duty service member. Due to concerns about promotion and advance- ment, spouses are reluctant to confide in someone as it might ruin the career of the military member, causing more drama and abuse at home. Domestic violence can manifest in many ways. Physical and sexual assaults, or threats to commit them, are the most apparent forms of domestic violence. But regular uses of other abusive behaviors, when reinforced by one or more acts of physical violence, make up a larger scope of abuse. Although physical assaults may occur only occasionally, they instill fear of future violent attacks and allow the abuser to control the victim's life and circumstances. A lack of physical violence doesn't mean the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim, nor does it mean the victim is any less trapped. Emotional and psychological abuse can oen be just as extreme as physical violence. Violence against women in the home has serious HEALTH TALK The Silent Epidemic: Domestic Violence COURTESY OF KATHRYN SERBIN; ISTOCKPHOTO A lack of physical violence doesn't mean the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim, nor does it mean the victim is any less trapped.

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