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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

How to Know if Your Daughter or Your Sister Is With a Man Like Ray Rice

Seriously. If you have a daughter, have you talked to her about domestic abuse?

Do you have a sister who constantly watches what she says or does to avoid a blow up with her boyfriend or husband? Do you think about talking to her about it but you are afraid?

With the recent release of the video of former Ravens player Ray Rice, it's a conversation that needs to happen.

Domestic violence is real.

  • Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten.

  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.

  • Everyday in the U.S., more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

  • Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.

Women are not the only victims of domestic violence. It happens to men too, yet 85% of domestic violence victims are women. Children are the other victims. Witnessing violence between parents is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

If you are a dad or a brother, you can make a difference by initiating the conversation with your daughter or sister.

If you are a mom or a sister, you have the same opportunity for the difficult conversation.

Have the conversation.

We should all be talking about it. By talking about it, we can raise awareness that it is real and that it is not okay. There is help if it is happening to someone you really care about.

Here are the signs of an abusive relationship according to the nonprofit organization Helpguide:

If you are in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for 24/7 support, resources and advice for your safety.

You won't always know who it is happening to. It's not something people share. When it is happening, it is happening to someone's mother, to a sister, and to a daughter.

As I read numerous articles today about Ray Rice, I didn't see enough about the signs of domestic abuse. I thought there was a piece of the message that was missing.

What was missing was how to recognize the signs in a relationship that is susceptible to domestic abuse. How we can educate our daughters and our sisters?

I didn't want you to miss that part of the message. It's too important.

There you have it.

Until next time,

Cover Photo Credit ©

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