Oklahoma consistently ranks among the worst states for incidents of domestic violence. While vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and the disabled are often at risk, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Although many people think of domestic violence being perpetrated by a man against a woman, the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NIPVS) reports that 49% of women and 40% of men in Oklahoma have experienced intimate partner violence.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services cites the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women in defining domestic violence:
“Domestic violence: a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.”
The Oklahoma YWCA, as part of its Capital Campaign to build a new shelter for victims of domestic violence, cites sobering statistics from the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board (based on 2010 figure):
- Oklahoma ranks 17th in the nation in the number of women killed by men
- Every year, an average of 84 women are killed by an act of domestic violence in Oklahoma
- One third of all female homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner
- One third of domestic violence homicides were witnessed by children
- More than 25,000 instances of domestic violence were reported to state and local authorities in 2012; however, it is estimated that only about half of all cases of domestic abuse are actually reported to law enforcement
While many people have a stereotypical image of an abuser, or think that an abuser may fit a particular profile, perpetrators of domestic violence come from all walks of life. Race, socioeconomic status, and religion are no indicators of a propensity for violence. Oklahoma Domestic Violence Help debunks other myths about domestic violence and abusers. Victims may think that their abuser has anger management issues or an inability to control his own actions or behavior. However, as OKDVHelp points out, these abusers are often perfectly capable of controlling their anger and behavior around others. They simply find a victim who is willing to put up with their abuse, and they manipulate and control that victim. Stress, low self esteem, and drug and alcohol abuse do not justify abuse. Many people struggle with stress, addiction, and depression without resorting to violence against others. Likewise, while there may be a documented cycle of violence, the fact is that most children who are abused do not grow up to be abusers.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, please get help:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-SAFE
- Oklahoma YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline – 405-917-9922
- Oklahoma State SafeLine – 800-522-7233
- In an emergency, call 9-1-1
If you have been charged with domestic assault and battery, there may be options available to help you get your life back on track. Call a defense lawyer who can provide the experienced legal counsel you need in the face of a serious criminal charge.