Domestic Violence Awareness Month

It is estimated that in the United States, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.1 One in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence.1 October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it’s a great reminder that we need to talk about healthy relationships, intimate partner violence, and ways to prevent abuse. It’s debated whether drugs and alcohol can be a trigger in domestic abuse, but statistically, substance misuse is often involved.

Domestic Violence Statistics in Mississippi

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) defines domestic violence (DV) as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control.” Domestic violence includes:1

  • Physical violence.
  • Sexual violence.
  • Psychological violence.
  • Emotional abuse.

More than 10 million women and men in the United States are physically abused by an intimate partner. On average nationwide, there are over 20,000 calls placed to domestic violence hotlines per day.

The NCADV reports that in Mississippi:1

  • 7% of women and 31.7% of men experience physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • On one day in 2019, 57 requests for domestic violence program services went unmet due to a lack of resources.
  • The state has dropped from 5th highest to 22nd in the nation in the number of women murdered by men (thanks to the formation of a Domestic Violence Unit).

When the abuse is between two romantic partners specifically, it can be referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV) instead of domestic violence.1

Does Drinking Trigger Domestic Abuse?

Domestic violence and drug and alcohol misuse are connected in three major ways: 2

  1. Drug and/or alcohol use by the abuser can increase the chances of a violent incident.
  2. Survivors of domestic abuse may use substances as a way of coping with the traumatic effects of abuse.
  3. Children who witness domestic violence have a higher incidence of substance misuse. 3

One study led by the University of Oxford found that analyzed hundreds of thousands of medical records and police data found that men with an alcohol or drug dependence are 6 to 7 times more likely to be involved in domestic violence against women. 4

Research has also found that some victims are coerced into using drugs and alcohol by their abusive partner. The abusive partner can also then sabotage the victim’s efforts to seek substance treatment or threaten to alert the authorities of their substance use. 5

Celebrities Speak Up About Domestic Abuse

The #MeToo movement (now almost 20 years since it was founded) was created by Tirana Burke to empower black women who had suffered sexual abuse. In 2017 the #MeToo movement went viral after news sources reported on the sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.6

#MeToo has since expanded to describe rape, domestic violence, gender bias, verbal abuse, and workplace sexual harassment. Celebrities like Charlize Theron and Tyler Perry have spoken out about the abuse they have suffered from parents with alcohol addictions.7 Recently, the very public Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial brought up incidences that involved both substance use and violence. In one example, Depp claimed his ex-wife threw a bottle of vodka at him during an argument, severing his finger. 8

Signs of Domestic Violence

The Office on Women’s Health has helpful resources on how to identify domestic violence/abuse and how to get help. For many men and women domestic violence or intimate partner violence “can be difficult to see if it starts little by little if your partner says they love you, or if they support you financially.”

If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, there are signs to look for. You or your loved one may be experiencing domestic violence if your partner engages in the following behaviors:

  • Checks your email, phone, or social networks without permission.
  • Forces you to engage in sexual activities when you don’t want to.
  • Decides what you eat, what you wear, or how you spend money.
  • Insists you get pregnant or controls your birth control.
  • Discourages or prevents you from seeing your family or friends.
  • Humiliates you in front of others on purpose.
  • Threatens to hurt you, your loved ones, your children, or your pets.
  • Engages in physical violence including hitting, punching, pushing, kicking, beating, etc., with or without a weapon.
  • Blames you for their violent outbursts.
  • Threatens to hurt themselves because of being upset with you.
  • Says threatening things like “If I can’t have you, then no one can.”
  • Accuses you of being unfaithful unfairly.
  • Threatens to report you to authorities for crimes that are imagined.

If you or a loved one is being abused and are in immediate danger, call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, you can call the anonymous and free National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 available 24/7.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Oxford Treatment Center is an industry-accredited drug and alcohol rehab in Mississippi that has treated over 8,000 patients. Along with evidence-based behavioral therapy, Oxford offers specialized programs including:

For more information on how to get help, levels of care offered, and any other questions you may have, speak with a compassionate admissions navigator available 24/7 at .

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