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Publication #FAR7000

Dealing with Domestic Violence1

Jennifer Stevens and Suzanna Smith2

Your partner says it will never happen again, brings you roses, and cooks your favorite dinner that night. Then why are you afraid? The Centers for Disease Control estimate that every year over 5 million women in the U.S. suffer abuse from their husbands, ex-husbands, or intimate partners. Thousands of men are also victims of violence, although women are 2 to 3 times more likely to report violence and are much more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Domestic violence is common, and it is serious (Centers for Disease Control, 2006).

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, or battering, takes place when one person intentionally harms his or her intimate partner. This may be physical abuse, sexual assault, or psychological or emotional abuse. Experts believe that one main reason for domestic violence is the batterer's need for power and control in the relationship. This comes not only from the use of physical force but also from threats, intimidation, even isolating the partner from friends and family. In fact, women often find the emotional trauma of the violence more painful than the physical abuse (Centers for Disease Control, 2006).

Women in violent relationships are often asked, "Why don't you leave?" Leaving is often a dangerous time when women are more vulnerable to violence. When a victim is planning to leave a dangerous situation, it is important to make a safety plan first, including a list of important things to bring, people to call, and places available to safely stay.

For further information about making a personalized safety plan, call the national hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to speak to an advocate in your area.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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Centers for Disease Control. (2006). Intimate partner violence: Overview. Retrieved June 7, 2007, from



This document is FAR7000, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 070 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Jennifer Stevens, undergraduate student, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and executive producer, Family Album Radio, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.