Domestic violence, a threat to life

By Jamila Cherif



Domestic violence can be a big obstacle to student performance for both men and women.

Most people, especially students, are unable to tell if someone they become involved with is capable of domestic violence. Thanks to the recent event organized by Delgado Active Minds, students had the chance to be sensitized about what defines domestic violence, how it affects victims, and what to do if you find yourself in a violent relationship.

Speaker Mark Medina from the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, a private non-profit organization offering services for victims of violence, identified four types of domestic violence. The first most familiar type is the physical abuse which the victim experiences, such as a black eye or broken bones.

The second type of abuse is financial, in which one partner keeps power and control over the money. For example, in a couple where the woman works a full-time job, her husband may make her believe he is better at saving and keep the money away from her.

To that abuse is added another which plays a big role, mental abuse. Because her husband has told her she can’t keep her own money, the woman may feel inferior, not confident, but at the same time, that the situation is normal.

Lastly, comes the sexual abuse, being forced against your will to have sex, even if you are married to each other. Until recently (2002), the marital rape exemption was alive and well in Louisiana, which meant a woman in Louisiana was not taken seriously if she reported being raped by her husband.

Medina said that Louisiana ranked fourth in 2012 for the number of women murdered by men (femicide), mostly domestic partners. He added that domestic violence is prevalent on college campuses, and only one in four instances is reported.

Domestic violence happens to both women and men, although men tend to under-report and to be a smaller percentage of victims, and it affects all sexualties and people of all races, income levels, occupations and religions. Sometimes, victims can be completely blinded and overwhelmed by the suffering they are experiencing, until the situation escalates to the point of serious injury or death. Anonymously, one victim said, “Leaving is never easy and there are many barriers society needs to recognize.’’

The Metropolitan Center for Women and Children operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, 504-837-5400 or toll-free at 888-411-1333, and has more resource information on the www.mcwcgno.org website.

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