Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Majority of Gun Violence Deaths Stem from Domestic Violence

Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

Michael Bloomberg’s gun violence prevention group called “Every Town for Gun Safety” has completed a study on statistics concerning gun violence. The group found that the majority of mass gun violence deaths stem from domestic violence incidents.

Identifying 110 mass shootings, defined as shootings with four or more deaths caused by a firearm, the group found that 57 percent of those deaths were related to domestic or family violence. Specifically, the finding was that in at least 63 of the cases (57%), the shooter killed a current or former spouse, intimate partner, or other family member, and in at least 20 incidents the shooter had a prior domestic violence charge.

This serves as sobering evidence that gun safety laws need to be strengthened, as well as evidence of the extent and seriousness of domestic violence, contrary to general public understanding.

Statistics belie the common understanding of domestic violence issues as a lower level concern. Numerous recent studies have shown its prevalence and severity to be massive. It is also insidious and frequently passed down through the generations. In addition, victims of domestic violence tend to continue to subconsciously engage and re-engage in domestic violence relationships thereafter exposing their children to violence in their home environment.

It is dangerous. The following are some stark statistics about domestic violence as presented by Soraya Chemaly in the Huffington Post.

1. Number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614

2. Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766

3. Number of people per minute who experience intimate partner violence in the U.S.: 24

4. Number of workplace violence incidents in the U.S. annually that are the result of current or past intimate partner assaults: 18,700

5. Number of women in the U.S. who report intimate partner violence: 1 in 4

6. Number of men in the U.S. who report intimate partner violence: 1 in 7*

7. Number of women who will experience partner violence worldwide: 1 in 3

8. Order of causes of death for European women ages 16-44: domestic violence, cancer, traffic accidents

9. Increase in likelihood that a woman will die a violent death if a gun in present in the home: 270 percent

10. Number of women killed by spouses who were shot by guns kept by men in the home in France and South Africa: 1 in 3

11. Percentage of the 900 million small arms that are kept in the home, worldwide: 75

12. Country in which 943 women were killed in honor killings in 2011: Pakistan

13. Percentages of people killed in the U.S. by an intimate partner: 30 percent of women, 5.3 percent of men.

14. Estimated number of children, worldwide, exposed to domestic violence everyday: 10,000,000

15. Worldwide, likelihood that a man who grew up in a household with domestic violence grows up to be an abuser: 3 to 4 times more likely than if he hadn’t.

16. Chance that a girl of high school age in the U.S. experiences violence in a dating relationship: 1 in 3

17. Percentage of teen rape and abuse victims who report their assailant as an intimate: 76

18. Percentage of U.S. cities citing domestic abuse as the primary cause of homelessness: 50

19. Percentage of homeless women reporting domestic abuse: 63

20. Percentage of homeless women with children reporting domestic abuse: 92

21. Percentage of women with disabilities who report violence: 40

22. Annual cost of domestic violence in the U.S. related to health care: $5.8 billion

23. Annual cost of domestic violence in the U.S. related to emergency care pluslegal costs, police work, lost productivity: 37 billion dollars

24. Annual number of jobs lost in the U.S. as a result of intimate partner violence: 32,000

25. Percentage change between 1980 and 2008 of women and men killed by intimate partners in the U.S.: (w) 43 percent to 45 percent; (m) 10 percent to 5 percent

26. Average cost of emergency care for domestic abuse related incidents for women and men according to the CDC: $948.00 for women, $387 for men

27. Increase in portrayals of violence against girls and women on network TV during a five year period ending in 2009: 120 percent

28. The number one cause of death for African American women ages 15-34 according to the American Bar Association: homicide at the hands of a partner

29. Ratio of women shot and killed by a husband or intimate partner compared to the total number of murders of men by strangers using any time of weapon, from 2002 homicide figures: 3X

30. Number of people who will be stalked in their lifetimes: 1 in 45 men and 1 in 12 women (broken out: 17 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women; 8.2 percent of white women, 6.5 pecent of African American women, and 4.5 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander women)

31. Percentage of stalkers identified as known to victims: 90.3

32. Percentage of abused women in the U.S. who report being strangled by a spouse in the past year: 33 to 47.3 (this abuse often leaves no physical signs)

33. According to one study, percentage of domestic abuse victims who are tried to leave after less severe violent and nonviolent instances of abuse: 66 versus less than 25

34. Average number of times an abuser hits his spouse before she makes a police report: 35

35. No. 1 and No. 2 causes of women’s deaths during pregnancy in the U.S.: Domestic homicide and suicide, often tied to abuse

36. Number of women killed by spouses who were shot by guns kept by men in the home in the United States: 2 in 3

37. Percentage of rape and sexual assault victims under the age of 18 who are raped by a family member: 34

38. Number of women killed everyday in the U.S. by a spouse: 3+

Another recent study confirms that early life stress impacts brain structure

Hippocampus and amygdala
University of Wisconsin-Madison

A study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published recently in the journal Biological Psychiatry, made findings that childhood stress leads to brain abnormalities. Such findings have been made by a number of studies in recent years. However, each study uses a unique approach and methodology and further confirms these concepts providing a more complete understanding of the issues.

Specifically, the Wisconsin-Madison study, led by Jamie L. Hanson, examined four samples of children. Three of the sample groups were identified to have suffered physical abuse, early neglect, and low socio-economic status. The researchers then used a fourth sample group who were not identified to have been subject to any of the other three criteria.

The researchers interviewed the children and their parents or guardians regarding the children’s experiences with early life stress and then examined images of the brains of these groups of children. Specifically focusing on two regions of the brain, the hippocampus and the amygdala, the researchers found measurably smaller volume in the amygdalas and hippocampi of the children in the groups subject to early life stress in contrast with the control group.

The study found smaller amygdala volumes in all three of the early life stress groups and smaller hippocampal volumes in the children who had been physically abused and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Higher overall early life stress and behavior problems were linked directly to lower volumes of the hippocampus and the amygdala.

The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for forming, storing, and processing memory and information. Among other things, it is involved in spacial orientation and navigation. It is part of the brain’s limbic system which is involved in emotion control and expression. The amygdala, also part of the limbic system, is shown to play a key role in emotion processing and expression. Its size is correlated with aggressive behavior across species.

You can see the abstract and complete text of the publication here: Behavioral Problems After Early Life Stress: Contributions of the Hippocampus and Amygdala