Abusers Enraged By Uncertain Times

Domestic violence rises as shelters fill and funds are cut

Among the side-effects of the downturn in the economy -- side-effects that are sometimes unseen and often unexpected -- is a rise in reports of domestic violence.

Featured in today's Chicago Tribune is a story of a 51-year-old Wilmette woman whose partner --- who had "made some dubious investments" -- became enraged and violent anytime finances were discussed.

"He'd be OK," the woman said, "but whenever money came up, he'd be totally out of control ... like a plane that was ready to crash," she told the paper.

The woman said the slaps and shoves started in 2008 as his losses mounted, and escalated into something more violent as the financial picture worsened.

While it's not happening in every household in America, experts say that the stress of the times has a direct affect on the rise of DV.

Though hard times usually won't cause a mild-mannered person to exact revenge or fly into a rage, a spouse or partner with a short fuse can be swept up by the wave of problems currently pounding the nation -- unemployment, home foreclosures, bankruptcies -- and exacerbating already strained relationships, say those who deal with domestic violence.

The rise in violence is consistent with what experts know about abuse -- that it is about power and dominance, The Tribune says. And the abused feel more and more dominated and powerless.

There are resources for those people -- the abused, who are mostly, but not soley, women and children.

But, according to the report, "just when the demand for services is at its peak, domestic violence programs are colliding with other economic factors -- budget shortfalls, hiring freezes and shrinking contributions."

Still, experts in domestic violence say victims must act to protect themselves by getting away from their abusers as soon as possible.

Visit HelpGuide.org for more information

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Where to Turn for Help

For emergency help: Call 911 if you are in immediate danger of domestic violence or have already been hurt.

For advice and support: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Additional contacts for the hotline:

Help through email: ndvh@ndvh.org

Help for the hearing-impaired: 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or deafhelp@ndvh.org

For a safe place to stay: Call your state’s branch of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence if you need a shelter from domestic violence. To find your state’s hotline number, go to the State Coalition List.  In Illinois, call 217-789-2830.

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