Forty-four percent of women experience some form of domestic violence.
It’s a shockingly high number, and testament to the culture of silence and fear that abuse breeds. And while it often takes heart-wrenching, blood-curdling stories to get us talking about such a personal and painful issue, it seems we’ve (finally) entered an era of awareness and action.
Still, many women (and, it should be said, men, too) remain trapped by silence, fear, and some surprising ramifications of abuse. Women who have experienced domestic violence are 60% more likely to develop chronic diseases than women with no history of abuse, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research.
The SWHR compiled the video below to share the stories of five women who not only faced down their abusers, but also the resulting depression, migraines, anxiety, joint problems, and other long-term health consequences.
“I try not to blame it on the domestic violence because it kind of makes me feel like I’m letting him win,” say Hilda Ochoa, 35. “But in reality, that’s when my insomnia started.”
The most important step to take is to tell a health care provider what you’ve lived through—and the symptoms you’re living with now.
“Domestic violence is a huge problem affecting men, women, and children every single day,” says Kristen Paruginog, 25. “Do not be ashamed, do not be embarrassed, and most important, seek help.”