Following Valentine’s Day, it is important to acknowledge the violence that all women face on a daily basis, especially young girls. For many, Valentine’s Day is happily spent with their domestic partners, but for others, the day reminds them of the physical or emotional violence suffered within their intimate relationships.
Valentine’s Day is potentially harmful to survivors, according to Natalie Rentas, a social service supervisor. Victims tend to focus on happier times in their abusive relationships during holidays centered around love. This can lead survivors back into the harmful relationships they’ve gotten away from or convince them to stay.
Another reason for past victims to reminisce on the better memories associated with their abusive partners is that Valentine’s Day actually sees a slight decrease in domestic violence reports, according to Psychology Today.
Despite this, in an article titled “A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Valentine’s Day,” published by Allure, domestic violence victims suffer both physical and mental abuse, resulting in the potential development of neurological disorders and generalized anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the results of the 2021 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey (YRBS), which showcases how young women in America are targets for violent behavior. This leads to an increased amount of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among teenage girls.
The increase in violence against girls also extends to sexual violence. There was a 3% increase in sexual violence experienced by young women between 2017 and 2021.
The CDC data results only surveyed American high school students, but women all over the country are affected by this intensified violence.
“Our teenage girls are suffering through an overwhelming wave of violence and trauma, and it’s affecting their mental health,” said the Director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, Kathleen Ethier, according to NBC.
This data did not go into dating or domestic violence against young women, but according to the New Jersey State Police Domestic Violence Reports from 2020, there were more than 63,000 domestic violence offenses reported in 2020. This was a 6% increase compared to what was reported in 2019.
Another upsetting local incident happened this past weekend off-campus near Rutgers New Brunswick campus. Authorities say that a woman was sexually assaulted at a party and are currently looking for the assailant.
Not much information has been released about this case, except for the fact that the woman was followed by a man on campus and assaulted. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a glaring problem concerning violence against women.
I think that it is important for everyone to recognize that women are greatly affected by violence, and the rates of this brutality are only increasing, causing devastating impacts on their mental health.
It’s not easy to find a solution for an issue so widespread, but if our communities are more vigilant and come together to support women, we might be able to see these ever-growing numbers begin to decrease.
At least 43% of women in college report abusive dating behaviors from their partners, according to The Hotline. One in three college women say they have been in abusive relationships, one and five college women say they have been verbally abused and one in six college women have been sexually abused in a dating relationship.
58% of college students don’t know how to appropriately help a victim of dating abuse. Ramapo’s Office of Violence Prevention on campus “promotes awareness to the realities of dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and other forms of interpersonal violence,” according to their website, and that may be a good place to start for seeking help.
Featured photo courtesy of Commonpersoon, Wikimedia