Stillwater News Press

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October 22, 2013

Domestic violence rising problem in Oklahoma

(Continued)

STILLWATER, Okla. — Impact on children

Domestic violence’s impact on children may affect them long after the abuse happens.

“Research shows that it is psychologically worse for a child to see their mom being beaten by dad than it is for the child being beaten,” Oliver said.

Fight or flight has its purpose, yet children who experience domestic violence are affected developmentally.

“Their brain gets aroused to flight or flight, even an infant,” she said. “They can’t do anything, and their brain develops differently because they are used to being on alert and ready for something.”

Oliver said it is easy to identify students with ADHD or having difficulty concentrating, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.

“Trauma is something that makes those symptoms worse,” she said. “When you see your mom getting choked or strangled once a week, you’re going to have a hard time concentrating for math because you’ve got really disturbing images in your head that you don’t know how to get rid of.”

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Rita Smith said it would be hard to predict an increase in domestic violence based on data alone.

With 30 years of experience, she has seen an increase in the requests of services since the economic downturn.

“In the early days of the crash, victims may be forced to not flee the abuser,” she said.

For financial reasons, women are strained of resources and because of job loss, the couple is home together more often. This opens a door to increased opportunities for arguments to result in violence.

“Instead of using money for a hotel to get away, it is used for groceries,” Smith said. “The crash made it less likely a person could take care of themselves. Thus the increase in the request for services.”

The coalition provides the nearly 2,000 domestic violence networks nationwide with public information and opportunities to communicate.

Information is shared with legislators to help alleviate problems to have an impact on policy.

The organization supports crisis centers to help domestic violence victims.

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