Domestic violence is violence or abuse in a domestic setting, such as with in cohabitation or marriage. Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence, which involves a spouse or intimate partner in an intimate partner relationship.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any age and can take place in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Domestic violence can also include violence against children, parents, or the elderly and can take on several forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The abuser often believes that the abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. Victims often feel trapped by the abuser in domestic violence situations through isolation by their abuser from family and friends, lack of finances, fear, shame, cultural acceptance, and power and control. Victims can develop physical disabilities and chronic health problems as well as severe psychological disorders.
In the United States, an estimated 10 million people experience domestic violence every year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with injury, PTSD, contraction of STDS, etc.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are several resources available to help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
States with the Highest Domestic Violence Rates
Alaska is notorious for violent crime and has the highest overall crime rate in the country. Nearly 50% of all English-speaking adult women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner or sexual violence in their lifetime. The state’s rate of sexual assault is 161.9 incidents per 100,000 people, nearly four times the national rate. Alaska also has the highest homicide rate for female victims killed by a male perpetrator.
About 49.1% of Oklahoma women and 40.7% of Oklahoma men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, including intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape, or intimate partner stalking. Oklahoma ranks third in the U.S. for the number of women killed by men in single-victim, single-offender homicides.
Nevada has the fifth-highest overall crime rate in the United States. For many years, Nevada was ranked first for domestic violence fatalities and ranked third in 2014. About 48.1% of Nevada women and 30.9% of Nevada men experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. In 2014 alone, domestic violence services were contacted 65,026 times.
About 42.6% of women and 28.3% of men in Washington experience intimate partner violence, rape, or stalking in their lifetimes. An estimated 28.3% of Washington women will experience stalking victimization in their lifetime. Around 50.3% of all violent crimes in Washington in 2018 were committed against women and 22.7% of all violent crimes that year were committed by the victim’s intimate partner or by a family member.
About 92% of homicides and suicides in New Hampshire are related to domestic violence. About 40.4% of women and 37.8% of men in New Hampshire will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes, including physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking. 22.7% of women in New Hampshire have been sexually assaulted and 19.5% have been sexually assaulted with penetration. New Hampshire’s high domestic violence rates are a surprise considering the state has the third-lowest overall crime rate in the United States.