The Broad Reach of Violence

October 5, 2016 Brigham and Women's Hospital


Interpersonal violence affects the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans. In the United States today, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner, homicide remains among the leading causes of death in adolescents and young adults, and violence in the community has become a major public health issue.

In today’s post, Marta P. Chadwick, JD, Director of Violence Intervention and Prevention Programs in the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), provides some key information on the prevalence and extensive impact of violence today.

  • Domestic violence can affect anyone. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic and racial boundaries.
  • Control and manipulation are common themes in violence and abuse. The use of manipulation and oppression to gain power and control is central to all forms of violence and abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, and economic abuse.
  • Victims often experience multiple forms of trauma. Violence comes in many forms, and victims of violence have often experienced multiple types of violence. These may include domestic violence, sexual violence, community violence, and human trafficking.
  • Exposure to violence has long-lasting effects. Research has shown that exposure to violence has been linked to serious chronic health issues, including cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal conditions, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
  • There is a cycle to violence and abuse. Perpetrators of violence and abuse are often former or current victims of violence and abuse.
  • Health care providers can help. The health care community is dedicated to improving the health, safety, and wellbeing of victims of trauma and abuse. This includes connecting victims to valuable resources for assistance and recovery. At BWH, we offer numerous programs that help victims of violence, including the Passageway program for domestic abuse intervention and prevention and the Violence Recovery Program to reduce the burden of violence in Boston. In recognition of Interpersonal Violence Awareness Month, BWH is also hosting a wide range of events that are open to the public throughout the month of October.

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-Jessica F.

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