Domestic abuse is rarely a one-time event; it usually gets worse and happens more often. The damage to victims is real. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, men batter close to one million women a year. Untold numbers of women suffer permanent injuries—brain damage, blindness, deafness, speech loss through damage to the larynx, disfigurement and mutilation, damage to or loss of internal organs, paralysis, sterility, and so on.
Women who are victims of domestic violence are more likely to attempt suicide, suffer from depression, anxiety, general chronic pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, and stomach ulcers. Many pregnant women miscarry as a result of beatings; and many birth defects are caused by assault on the mother during pregnancy. Many women have been infected with HIV by batterers who force them into unprotected sex. And every day in 1998, five women died violently at the hands of men who claimed to love them—accounting for one-third of all women murdered that year.