#GivingHope to escaped victims of domestic violence who suffer with an invisible disability.

According to the NCADV, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

“The effects of domestic violence reach beyond the family – victims are less able to perform in a school setting, the work place, and in normal adult relationships.”

– St Jude House

Victims of domestic violence lose days of paid work, lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse, are prone to depression and suicidal behavior.

Effects linked with intimate partner violence:

Physical, mental, sexual & reproductive health such as;

  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Unintended pregnancy in general
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Intrauterine hemorrhage
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Abdominal pain
  • Other gastrointestinal problems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Disability
  • Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Noncommunicable diseases such as;

  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases

Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND INVISIBLE DISABILITIES

The SDWR Giving Hope Campaign was created to generate support for survivors of domestic violence.

Physical and verbal violence can be present in relationships where disability is involved, but it also takes more nuanced, complicated forms that might not be immediately readable to outsiders in the relationship. In fact, sometimes abuse even appears to be caring, or the work of a dedicated, loving partner. And emotional abuse in disability contexts can look very different than it does in non-disabled relationships. 

“Because there’s a lot in life that I as an autistic person get told is ‘normal’ and that I’m expected to try and do even though it’s uncomfortable or sometimes downright distressing, it didn’t ring any bells that things in an intimate relationship were also making me feel anxious, weird and distressed,” says Lisa. Their experience echoes that of many other autistics; when you spend your whole life being told you’re socially inept and just have to try harder, how are you supposed to differentiate “okay” from “not okay”? – S.E. Smith (rootedinrights.org)

When people think of domestic violence in connection with invisible disabilities, often their minds go to TBI and PTSD, which can be caused by domestic violence. While that is often the case, there are many individuals and families suffering from other invisible disabilities that are also victims of domestic violence.

SDWR places service dogs to aid individuals suffering from PTSD, Seizures, Autism and Diabetes. Individuals affected by these disabilities can sometimes more easily fall prey to domestic violence.  As they make their journey away from the violence, we hope to be able to help them cope with their own, or their loved one’s invisible disability, so they can put more focus on healing and building a new life.

How can you help?

Any gift given to the Giving Hope Campaign will help offset the cost of raising, placing, and training service dogs with survivors of domestic violence. You can also share the Giving Hope link on social media. TinyURL.com/GTHOPE