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Health Experts Call Domestic Violence "Silent Epidemic"

Health Experts Call Domestic Violence "Silent Epidemic"

Posted - Dec. 18, 2003 at 5:00 p.m.



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Carole Mikita reporting Doctors call the statistics staggering. One in 10 women treated in the emergency room has been abused in the last 12 months, and 40% of those women have tried to commit suicide.

Health experts call it the hidden silent epidemic. In 2002, 65% of the women murdered died because of domestic abuse.

It is often called 'a family problem'. The doctors say, it is not. It is a violent crime.

Todd Allen, M.D., Emergency Room: "Domestic violence is the number one health threat for women across the United States..."

And Utah is no exception. In a first-of-its kind survey LDS Hospital found that one in every ten women who came through the emergency room doors had been physically abused in the past year... 37% abused over their lifetimes...

Todd Allen, M.D., Emergency Room: "And shockingly, 40% of those women who had been abused in the last year had considered killing themselves"

530 women answered the survey questions in March of 2001: Have you been hit, kicked, punched, strangled by your husband, boyfriend, partner in the past year? and are you here because of those injuries?

The idea for this survey came from Dr. John Nelson, President-elect of the AMA and a Utah OB-GYN. He says women must be able to trust their doctors.

Abuse victims say, they often feel alone.

Brandy Farmer/ Domestic Violence Survivor: "When he would threaten to kill me, I just felt like that could be the best thing that could happen... and it wasn't until he threatened to kill my children, that I knew that I had to do something..."

She went here... For 27 years the YWCA has provided shelter for abuse victims and their children. The agency is partnering with IHC to help with intervention and education.

It takes courage to leave a violent relationship.

Jennifer Mackenzie,Ph.D.: "If a friend or a family member or a patient... comes to you and she's been in an abusive relationship... we need to listen, we need to tell her that help is out there and we need to tell her that no one deserves to be abused..."

The doctors say income level, education, ethnicity had no relationship to incidents of domentic violence... it cuts across all lines.

537-8600 or 1-800-897-5465 Here is the YWCA hotline

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