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Generational Legacy: The Curse of Domestic Violence

November 1, 2023

By Amber Ford

On Thursday, October 5th, Clackamas county sheriffs and medical personnel responded to a domestic violence incident involving residents located at the Mount Hood Village RV Resort. Upon arrival, sheriffs found a deceased male and an injured woman inside the home, both with gunshot wounds. Deputies performed life-saving efforts on the woman who was then life-flighted to a Portland area hospital where she later died. The call that came into Clackamas county sheriffs’ office was labeled a “domestic dispute.” Unfortunately, this is an epidemic not specific to large cities or other urban demographics: it is a mental health crisis that can affect just about anyone.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “intimate partner violence” is one of the larger public health issues with generational impacts. “IPV” (intimate partner violence) is a significant public health issue that has many individual and societal costs,” according to the CDC. “About 75% of female IPV survivors and 48% of male IPV survivors experience some form of injury related to IPV,” the CDC added. Not only can domestic violence plague individuals both mentally and physically, it can be lethal when not addressed or reported. According to statistics from U.S. crime reports, one in five homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Even more concerning is that this same report states that over half of female homicide victims in the U.S. were killed by current or former intimate male partners.

While domestic violence in the U.S. has the ability to tear families apart, the lasting impacts can create ripple effects for generations to come. Not only are there severe mental illnesses and mental health conditions that arise from domestic abuse, but there are also serious physical health conditions that can arise when domestic violence issues are not resolved. According to the CDC, heart conditions and issues with bones and muscles, as well as nervous and digestive problems, are just a few of the negative impacts associated with intimate partner violence.

Domestic violence is also one of the leading causes of both mental and physical issues in children who have witnessed intimate partner violence. According to the Adverse Childhood Experience Study, 30-60% of abusers in the home also inflict violence upon children in the home. Some studies concluded that children living in a home with domestic violence were more likely to recreate that violence as adults, due to the cyclical nature of this epidemic.

While domestic violence in the home seems like a health crisis that can be avoided or corrected, for many individuals living in these situations the healthy option of leaving or reporting the incidents is not always so clear cut. According to the nonprofit agency Peace Over Violence, “the cycle of violence is a pattern of behaviors which keeps survivors locked in the abusive relationship.” Peace Over Violence goes on to say that while leaving may seem like an easy option for those experiencing domestic violence, fear of financial instability and change are among the reasons many do not escape this nightmare.

Living with domestic violence and intimate partner violence is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC. It has the ability to create lasting effects, both physical and mental, and can also create cyclical/generational behaviors for those affected.

If you or someone you love is involved in a domestic violence situation, the following resources are available: Clackamas County Mental Health Crisis Line: 503-655-8585, Clackamas Women’s Services 24-hour crisis line: 503-654-2288.

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