The recent deaths of two Cleveland women at the hands of their domestic partners have spurred a series of discussions on domestic violence. Judge Ronald Adrine, presiding judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court and Linda Dooley Johanek, executive director of the Domestic Violence Center were featured on a recent segment on WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas to discuss these high-profile cases and the many issues surrounding domestic violence. In this segment, both guests emphasized the prevalence of domestic violence in our community. Statistics continue to show that one in four women in the United States will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. This violence may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual or financial violence, or a combination of violent strategies imposed on the victim by her abuser. However, these statistics are only estimates, as the rate of underreporting of domestic violence remains unknown. While many may be unaware of the high prevalence of domestic violence, perhaps even more surprising is the diversity in the profiles of domestic violence victims, which include women of all age groups and educational and socioeconomic levels. Indeed, domestic violence is an issue that affects all sectors of society and must be addressed at the community level.
To continue the discussion on domestic violence as it relates specifically to youth, the Schubert Center for Child Studies has recently published a policy brief examining teen dating violence. Research suggests that one in five teens report experiencing abuse in relationships, and that young women ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to intimate violence than all other age groups. This abuse not only has serious consequences for teens, but has also been linked to a pattern of violence which may lead to intimate partner violence in adulthood. This research suggests the importance of taking a developmental approach to understand both the roots and effects violence across the lifecourse.