Introducing LifeWire’s “Domestic Violence and…” Series

Each person who comes through LifeWire’s doors has one thing in common – they are experiencing domestic violence. Yet every survivor’s story is unique.

Every survivor brings to the table a myriad of other factors – including income level, gender, race, immigration status, access to healthcare, sexual orientation or age – that impact the risks they face, the resources available to them and the choices they make.

Some of our participants have to choose between ending their relationship with their abusive partner or becoming homeless. Some have to choose between remaining undocumented or filing for citizenship and risking deportation. Others risk loss of professional or community status. Some fear that they will not be taken seriously.

To understand the unique barriers and challenges survivors of domestic violence face, we must also understand the other issues that impact their lives, their families and their communities.

Through “Domestic Violence and…” we’ll explore one issue at a time through the lens of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence and Mental Health

Woman standing with her eyes closed looking sad

Anna started seeing LifeWire’s Mental Health Therapist because she was experiencing symptoms of severe trauma. She felt numb and disoriented, had trouble focusing at work, and was having panic attacks.

Abuse, whether physical or psychological, can affect survivors’ mental health. People who experience trauma because of domestic violence are at significantly higher risk for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Survivors may also try to escape pain and depression with substance use or consider suicide. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Mental Health”

Domestic Violence and Credit

Concerned woman on phone with laptop and papers in front of her

Unpaid bills

Throughout their marriage, Rebecca’s husband controlled every aspect of their finances. And while the lease to the house had been in both their names, he stopped paying rent to punish her. Rebecca spent many sleeplessness nights agonizing over the $1,800 she owed her landlord.

Ninety-eight percent of domestic violence survivors experience financial abuse. Some abusers, like Rebecca’s husband, stop making payments. Others gain power and control over their partner by limiting how they spend money, running up huge debts, or destroying their credit. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Credit”

Domestic Violence and the Holidays

Woman in a winter coat walking on a snowy road.

After Heather left her abuser, she felt sad, depressed, and unsure about her future. She also struggled with the challenges of being a single parent and the costs of building a new life.

“The holidays are usually full of joy and love and happiness, but inside I felt I had little of these things. The idea of giving my children the happy holiday experience seemed daunting and I even considered skipping Christmas altogether.”

Continue reading “Domestic Violence and the Holidays”

Domestic Violence and #MeToo

Camille never considered her relationship abusive, until the morning she called helpline. Her boyfriend never hit or threatened her, but he liked to be in control. He hated when she got home late from work. He told her what she could wear, who she could see, and how she could spend money. All of her concerns came to mind when Camille heard Becky, a domestic violence survivor, share her story on New Day Northwest.After listening to Becky, Camille finally had the words to describe what was happening in her relationship: emotional abuse; financial abuse; domestic violence. Supported with that knowledge, Camille reached out to LifeWire for help.

Continue reading “Domestic Violence and #MeToo”

Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community

Woman holding pride flag

While there is a need for more research, recent studies suggest that the LGBTQ community experiences domestic violence at rates similar or slightly higher than heterosexual women. In lots of ways, domestic violence committed in LGBTQ relationships is similar to domestic violence committed in heterosexual relationships. It may include emotional, psychological abuse, economic abuse, physical violence and/or sexual assault. But, LGBTQ survivors also face some distinct challenges.
Continue reading “Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community”