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Domestic violence can affect anyone

A New Jersey study in 2011 showed that across the state, about three-fourths of domestic violence victims are women. While women in general suffer more often than men at the hands of an abuser, domestic violence doesn't discriminate with regards to race, age or even social class. An educated, upper-class woman can be trapped in the cycle of violence as often as her friend with little schooling and limited resources.

The study further elaborated that about 25 percent of women are impacted by domestic violence during their lifetime. The cycle of violence often keeps people trapped through a "honeymoon phase" that includes sweet words and promises to reform. However, it doesn't last, and the abuser eventually goes back to battering, sources say. Abusers might even refuse to accept responsibility for their behavior and blame the victim for their own poor choices and actions.

According to a New Jersey domestic violence response team, abusers control their victims in a number of ways. They might limit their choices, cut them off from family or friends, take away a vehicle or keys, neglect or criticize children and withhold money. A women's shelter can provide a respite for such victims but doesn't always have the resources to keep children and pets. Nonprofit organizations dedicated to ending abuse have urged victims to be aware that leaving can seriously escalate the risk of being killed, so women need to take measures to protect themselves.

When someone is the victim of domestic violence, they might feel overwhelmed with the process of protecting themselves and any children when they consider leaving their marriage. A family attorney may be able to help clients get their legal paperwork in order to prepare to leave a spouse if they are in an abusive relationship.

Source: North & South Brunswick Sentinel, "Domestic violence has no boundaries", Jessica D'Amico, February 06, 2014

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