A new release from the CDC reports that nearly a quarter of American women and 11.5% of American men have experienced some kind of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. According to Reuters, the CDC defines "intimate partner violence" as "threatened, attempted or completed physical or sexual violence or emotional abuse by a spouse, former spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend or a dating partner." Not only does the abuse cause immediate damage, but the CDC has found that victims of abuse are much more likely to suffer from other long-term health problems as a result of partner violence. To wit: Abused women are 80% more likely to have a stroke, 70% more prone to heart disease and arthritis, and 60% more asthmatic than the rest of the female population. Not to mention the mental repercussions: Reuters reports that abuse victims are "twice as likely to report that their activities are limited by physical, mental or emotional problems."
Nothing in the news today unscores this reality better than the story of Christi Layne, currently in the hospital and suffering from stab wounds inflicted by her estranged husband. Ms. Layne, a teacher, was attacked in front of her fifth grade class at Notre Dame Elementary school in Portsmouth, Ohio yesterday, just 13 days after she filed for divorce from her husband, William Michael Layne (Mr. Layne shot himself to death shortly after his attack). Remember, ladies, if you need help (or someone you know does), the number for the National Domestic Violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE.