PHF Magazine - January 2022 Issue

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CONTENTS 3 The Epidemic of Domestic Violence, and its effect on Homelessness

11 Men Share their Harrowing Domestic Abuse Stories




When talking about homelessness and its causes, there are many potential causes that people tend to point their hand to substance abuse, mental disability, and loss of income to name a few. Though one is very much distinguishable. One that study7 shows causes four times the odds of housing instability, domestic violence. The United Nations defines domestic violence as “Domestic abuse, also called “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence”, can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating.”

Domestic Violence can be defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse as well as by other family members, or by a partner’s family members. This type of violence does not discriminate, it can occur with any gender, sexuality, and does not even require any past or present intimacy between the abuser and the victim.

10 STATISTICS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE There are some key statistics to know about domestic violence and just how prevalent it is in society. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline: An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year. Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and reported it has a related impact on their functioning.

Just under 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men in the US have been injured as a result of intimate partner violence that included rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the US have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Intimate partner violence alone affects more than 12 million people every year. Over 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Almost half of all women and men in the US have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively). Women ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence. From 1994 to 2010, approximately 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female. Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender at rates of 77% for women ages 18 to 24, 76% for ages 25 to 34, and 81% for ages 35 to 49. Domestic Violence and its Causation of Homelessness. Research shows that domestic violence is commonly cited as the leading cause of homelessness for women, where one study found 38% of women reported becoming homeless immediately after separating from their partner. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported that thirty-eight percent of all domestic violence victims become homeless at some point in their lives. Additionally, according to a California study, women who experienced interpersonal violence in the last year had almost four times the odds of reporting housing instability than women who did not experience interpersonal violence. Though It is paramount to realize that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all explanation for this tragic trend. Though some ways that abusers directly cause their victims to go homeless are:

Using control tactics to isolate the survivor and keep them away from the help they need. Destroy a survivor’s credit by signing up credit cards in their names and defaulting on bills. Causing the victim to lack steady employment due to stalking. Evictions from current housing due to constant police presents and/or damaged property. What Has been done to address Domestic Violence victim homelessness? Though there have been multiple strategies and programs structured that have been proposed to address this, one has shone above the others as the primary treatment, Housing First Initiatives. According to the National Alliance To End Homelessness, Housing First initiatives are, “Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues. Additionally, Housing First is based on the theory that client choice is valuable in housing selection and supportive service participation, and that exercising that choice is likely to make a client more successful in remaining housed and improving their life.”

Domestic Violence induced homelessness is different and should be treated differently due to the emotional damage victims are put through. That is why a modification Domestic Violence Victims Housing First (HVVHF) has introduced is Trauma-informed practice, or connecting the victims to specialists who can help treat survivors’ PTSD. The six parts of this practice are Establishing emotional safety Restoring choice and control Facilitating survivors’ connections to community supports Supporting coping Responding to identity and context, Building strengths

THE FRUITS OF HOUSING FIRST INITIATIVES The success of HVVHF is seen as quite promising and one that nonprofits and government organizations should look into prioritizing instead of programs where victims would need to check off a set of unfair requirements before being given housing assistance. According to an article from Cris Sullivan and Linda Olsen, both professors of Michigan State University, they cite the results of the beta tests of HVVHF programs by saying,

The development of the DV Housing First model was informed by both practice-based evidence and evidence-based practice. A large, randomized controlled trial conducted in the 1990s had established that mobile advocacy leads to improvements in DV survivors’ ability to access community resources (including housing), social support, safety from abuse, and overall quality of life (Bybee & Sullivan, 2002; Sullivan & Bybee, 1999). uilding on this earlier work, Niolon and colleagues (2009) longitudinally examined the role of housing stability in preventing revictimization and reducing negative outcomes for DV survivors and their children. That study, which included an examination of mobile advocacy and housing supports over time, found quite positive changes in women’s and children’s lives over 18 months.

B Women who were homeless or at high risk for homelessness when entering the study reported greater housing stability, higher quality of life, fewer absences from work, greater job stability, higher income, fewer problems with alcohol/drugs, less depression, and less PTSD over time. Their children missed fewer days of school, had better academic performance, and had fewer behavioral problems over time. WSCADV’s evaluation of the DV Housing First model was similarly promising. The majority of families in both rural and urban communities reported being effective at accessing and retaining housing at 6, 12, and 18 months after program entry. Participants also reported increased safety and wellbeing. More rigorous evidence is needed to examine the impact of this model (and is currently in process), but evidence to date is quite promising.”

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MEN SHARE THEIR HARROWING DOMESTIC ABUSE STORIES Many of us are familiar with the signs of an abusive relationship. Physical violence is only one of many. Extreme jealousy, verbal insults, controlling behavior, and victimblaming are all hallmark signs that someone is an abusive partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

What we rarely talk about, though, is that for as often as men are the perpetrators of abuse, they can just as easily be victims. As many as 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical abuse by a partner. For women, it's as many as 1 in 3. That's a staggering percentage of people. The grim and heartbreaking thread helped shed some light on an under-recognized reality: Abuse is abuse, and it has no gender. Here are some of the main takeaways from the powerful thread, which is worth a full-read. Note: Last names have been left out to protect victims of abuse. 1. The support system for men who are victims of abuse is extremely poor. Robert, who shared his story of an abusive relationship in the thread, wrote that his ex would threaten him and lash out physically, but no one would ever take his complaints seriously. "She would throw knives at stuff and wreck the house," he wrote. "I went through 16 police calls before one of them finally gave her a charge for assault."

When the two were finally separated (he writes that she was arrested on a separate charge), he had to turn to information meant for battered women for help putting his life back together. The sad truth is that the shelters and groups out there dedicated to helping men in abusive relationships are depressingly scarce. 2. Men can be victims of physical abuse too. Often at the detriment of their "manhood." It's hard enough for many men being abused to find people who'll believe them. It's made even tougher than they might be made out to look like less of a man if they come clean. "It's like I was supposed to just take it because I was a man," Robert wrote. Tom, another man who shared his story, wrote that he was "embarrassed" when his ex would hit him during arguments, in public, but that he never even considered it abuse until long after they broke up. Research supports the idea that men might be even less likely than women to report physical abuse. And we wonder why phrases like, "Man up!" are so harmful. 3. The patterns of abusive behavior are consistent whether abusers are men or women. Another Reddit user, William, said he wasn't allowed to hang out with certain people his partner didn't like, and the controlling and manipulative behavior took a heavy toll on him. "I knew deep down no matter what I did to try and make her happy it was never good enough. I never felt so useless," he wrote. Many men in the thread, like Richie, wrote that the psychological trauma from their abusive relationship was the most difficult thing to reconcile and recover from. Mood swings, illogical fights, and suicidal threats from Richie's partner pushed him to a breaking point.

"It wore me down to the bone," he wrote. "I was a shell of myself at one point." Over 10 million men and women in the United States are victims of physical domestic abuse every year; a number that doesn't include behaviors like lying, threats, and manipulation. Toxic concepts of masculinity can sometimes lead to men becoming abusers, but as this thread shows, they can also paralyze men who need help. Fixing our culture's broken idea of what makes a man could be a crucial step toward ending domestic violence and abuse for both men and women. In the meantime, we can listen to the victims' stories. Everyone, man or woman, deserves to be heard. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and wants to seek help, start by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which offers support for men, women, and children.




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