LifeWire’s “Domestic Violence and…” Blog

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’s experience with domestic violence is shaped by different factors, including their income level, gender, race, immigration status, access to healthcare, sexual orientation, and age – that impact the risks they face, the resources available to them, and the choices they make.

Some survivors are forced 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 or fear risking the loss of professional or community status. Many 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 Child Custody

Two boys sitting and hugging on a playground
Courts as a tool for abuse

Often people believe that when a parent leaves an abusive relationship they will gain primary custody of the children; however, many family courts don’t consider a history of domestic violence as grounds for denying the abuser partial or full custody. Survivors often face an uphill battle for custody. And abusers are more likely than non-abusers to challenge custody ruling. 70% of the time abusers succeed in getting partial or full custody. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Child Custody”

Domestic Violence and Reproductive Coercion

Empty package of birth control pills


What is Reproductive Coercion?

One in four survivors has experienced reproductive coercion, yet few people are familiar with the term. Reproductive coercion is any behavior aimed at controlling a person’s reproductive choices. It can take many different forms, including throwing away birth control or poking holes in condoms, lying about a vasectomy, or forcing a partner to get pregnant or have an abortion. One of the most deceptive forms of reproductive coercion is “stealthing” or removing a condom during sex without a partner’s consent. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Reproductive Coercion”

Domestic Violence and Guns

The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
Guns and Homicide

A woman’s risk of homicide increases significantly when her abuser has access to a gun. Each month, an average of 52 American women are fatally shot by their current or former partners, and even more are injured. Women of color, especially Black, Native, and Hispanic women, are at even greater risk of being fatally shot, in large part because they have a harder time accessing services and support that can keep them safe. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and Guns”

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”