“Why do you only serve women?”
At Genesis, we recognize that men and women alike can experience intimate partner violence, but we focus only on serving women. Why? Because Genesis is aware of the unique needs and vulnerabilities of women and children seeking our services. It is our mission to end domestic violence, which will take all facets of society working in the same direction and spreading the same message. By focusing on only serving women and children, we can do our part to spread messages about how women and children are uniquely affected.
Domestic violence occurs when one person in a relationship tries to establish power and control over the other through a pattern of intentional abusive behaviors, including emotional, verbal or physical abuse. The effects of abuse include symptoms of PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, negative beliefs about one’s self worth or self blame, and feelings of fear. Women are the most likely to experience severe intimate partner physical violence, which can include long lasting injuries in addition to the other symptoms already listed.
Genesis is aware of the statistics that highlight how prevalent intimate partner violence is for women:
- 1 in 4 women in the US and 1 in 3 women worldwide will know domestic violence during her lifetime
- 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence are female
- 1 in 3 teenage girls will be physically assaulted by a boyfriend
- The leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15-44 is domestic violence, more than car accidents, muggings, rapes combined
There are societal, cultural and religious beliefs that contribute to domestic violence. Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That?, highlights some of the beliefs that contribute to the abusive mindset: that the man knows best, that his emotional, physical and sexual needs matter more than hers, and that disrespecting or degrading her are acceptable ways to get what he wants. We often hear about these kind of beliefs in conversations about male privilege and toxic masculinity. These types of beliefs are learned and perpetuate violence against women. The statistics listed above tell the stories of our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues and their partners who hold these beliefs.
Since abusers and victims know no race, socioeconomic or educational background, religion or sexual orientation, we also recognize that other populations are affected by unique and complex societal factors based upon the same type of belief systems rooted in entitlement, disrespect, power and control. Abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships may maintain their power and control with tactics such as threatening to “out” a partner. In same gender relationships, female partners can be abusive. The majority of male victims are abused by male partners. Abuse in any form and in any type of relationship is never acceptable.
The following information relates to services for abused men and abusers:
- Family Place is a partnering organization that services both men and women affected by family violence. Their 24-hour hotline is 214-941-1991.
- Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPP) are educational programs designed to change the behaviors and belief systems of abusive partners. These programs can be found through an internet search online.
- Although we don’t work with adult men, we do work with our clients’ children, including boys and young men. We aim to break the generational cycle of domestic violence and heal children impacted by the trauma of abuse. We also encourage men to get involved in the fight against domestic violence, and have an auxiliary for men to join to become a part of the solution.
Written by Noelle Cloward, women and children’s therapist at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.