Friday, September 16, 2011

2008-2011 Domestic Abuse, Health, and Consequences to Society

Compiled by M.A.S.O. ~ Massachusetts Survivors Outreach
2011 Studies

January 4 - HealthDay News  - Survey Finds Much Victimization of Children Goes Unreported – By UNH - Nearly 60 percent of 10-to-17-year-olds surveyed in a new study say they were victims of violence, abuse or crime in the past year. However, fewer than half said that authorities ever learned about what happened.

"The hidden nature of childhood victimization has multiple sources. Clearly, children and adolescents are easily intimidated by offenders and fear retaliation."



February 23 - MedLine Plus - PTSD Risk in Women Tied to Genetics - Heavily traumatized civilian women with two copies of a specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the ADCYAP1R1 gene were more likely to show PTSD with an odds ratio of 1.66 (95% CI 1.32 to 2.09) relative to similar women without the condition, Kessler and colleagues found.

About one-third of the 763 women in the study were diagnosed with PTSD.

Among the individual PTSD symptoms, hyperarousal was the one most strongly associated with the CC genotype.


February 24  - Science Daily -  Strong Link Found Between Victimization, Substance Abuse - Researchers compared victimization experiences of unwanted sexual activity, neglect, physical violence, and assault with a weapon,

Three times as many lesbians as heterosexual women reported childhood sexual abuse.

Regardless of sexual identity, women who reported two or more victimization experiences had two to four times the prevalence of alcohol dependence, drug abuse or drug dependence as women who reported no victimization, she said.



March 18 -  Medline Plus - Domestic Abuse Often Escapes Notice of ER Staff: Study - Most not identified as victims when treated in emergency department – By UPenn - Three of four domestic violence victims treated in hospital emergency departments are not identified as victims of abuse, a new study reveals. 

80% of women who reported domestic assaults to police came to an emergency department at least once during the four years after the reported assault.  Only 28% of the women were ever identified in EDs as victims of domestic violence.



March 31 - Moms With Tough Childhoods More Likely to Have Smaller Babies: Study - Abuse, poverty during a mother's youth is associated with heightened health risks for the next generation



April 16 – CDC – CDC Report: Adverse Childhood Experiences Reported by Adults

Overall, 59.4% of respondents reported having had at least one ACE while 8.7% reported five or more ACEs. 
The most common ACEs were: Separated or divorced parents, Verbal abuse, Family member with depression or mental illness, Witness of domestic violence, Physical abuse, Sexual abuse.
These findings reinforce that adverse childhood experiences are common across racial/ethnic groups and states, further reinforcing the need to expand evidence-based child abuse prevention programs such as home visiting and parent education.

April 20 - - Biological Links Found Between Childhood Abuse and Adolescent Depression - history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood substantially increases the risk of depression in adolescence by altering a person's neuroendocrine response to stress.

April 28 - University of Southern California and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. - - Child Sexual Abuse Imapct - 23yo Study - Results of many analyses, both within circumscribed developmental stages and across development, indicated that sexually abused females (on average) showed deleterious sequelae across a host of  biopsychosocial domains including: earlier onsets of puberty, cognitive deficits, depression, dissociative symptoms, maladaptive sexual development, hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal attenuation, asymmetrical stress responses, high rates of obesity, more major illnesses and healthcare utilization, dropping out of high school, persistent posttraumatic stress disorder, self-mutilation, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnoses, physical and sexual revictimization, premature deliveries, teen motherhood, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Offspring born to abused mothers were at increased risk for child maltreatment and overall maldevelopment. 

May 10 - Post-Traumatic Childhood - For every soldier returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with symptoms of depression or PTSD, there are around 10 children in the United States who are traumatized by exposure to family violence, sexual abuse, neglect and assault, with consequences comparable to those of adult exposure to war-zone violence. 

The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that the annual cost of childhood maltreatment like this is $103.8 billion. 

Untreated, traumatized children become failing adults who populate our jails and overwhelm our human services agencies. Cutting the development of effective treatments will produce many years of increasing costs and unquantifiable human misery


May 17 - Deprivation and Neglect Found to Age Children's Chromosomes - Study, led by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Tulane University, shows that early adversity even affects children's chromosomes -- prematurely shortening the chromosome tips, known as telomeres, and hastening how quickly their cells "age."

"The telomere is designed to protect the chromosome, so accelerating how early in life telomeres lose length correlates with shortened life span," says Charles Nelson, PhD, director of the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Children's and principal investigator of BEIP. "Shortened telomeres may lead to health consequences downstream."



May 26 -  The Annapolis Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Research Center. - Abuse History More Common in Those With Pelvic Pain, CFS, and Fibromyagia  - Childhood Trauma and Risk for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Association With Neuroendocrine Dysfunction

May 26 - Ritual Abuse and Torture-based Mind Control: Reducing and Preventing Re-contact with Abusers - The two primary forms of re-contact w/ abusers include reporting back by phone or written correspondence, and physically returning to abusers to be abused again. Perpetrators of ritual abuse and mind control attempt to coerce their victims into submission and service to the abuser group for a lifetime. Abuser methods of exerting long-term contact and control vary in relation to the level of psychological sophistication of the abusers and the size of the abusers’s criminal network.
Some abuser groups rely primarily on threats to force their victims into compliance and to prevent their victims from escaping. For some of these groups, these are empty threats. They make claims of having more power than they have. Some abuser groups have larger criminal networks and thus, more power to carry out their threats. But, they too reliably overstate their power to maximally terrorize their victims. This is not to dismiss the reality that these abusers commit murder, but it is to say that they lie and exaggerate their power. Clearly, people who systematically abuse others lie to further their own interests. Words are just one more tool of manipulation to control their victims. Everything they say should be questioned and examined for underlying motives and feasibility.
Many of these abusers also manipulate their victims’ attachment needs, that is, their basic survival needs and needs for security and love, usually beginning in early childhood. They also go to great lengths to try to make their victims believe that the victims are accomplices to the abuse, that they are as evil as their abusers themselves, and that they are unworthy and incapable of belonging anywhere but with the abusers.
Some abuser groups go a step further and manipulate their victims’ psychological capacity to form dissociated self-states in response to extreme pain and terror. I am using the term, “dissociated self-states,” here to refer to states of consciousness with some sense of self that exist out of the conscious awareness of the most-often conscious parts of the psyche, and that typify DSM-IV Dissociative Identity Disorder, and forms of Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified in which self-states exist internally, affecting the psyche from within, but never assume complete control of executive functions (e.g., purposive action).
These Machiavellian abusers
systematically torture their victims for the intended purpose of coercing their victims’ psyches into forming new dissociated self-states that they then work to exploit. They “torture-hypno-condition” these self-states, that is, they use torture, hypnosis, and behavioral conditioning, to try to coerce these dissociated self-states into fulfilling functions that serve the abusers. (I thank Hans Ulrich Gresch, Ph.D., psychologist, mind control survivor, and respected colleague, for the term, “torture-hypno-conditioning,” the most succinct descriptive phrase that I have found that explains what occurs in most torture-based mind control programming; see: These abusers “program” some of these dissociated self-states to take on “reporter” and “re-contact” functions, that is, to report to the abusers on a regular basis from a distance, and to return to the abusers as directed.
In many cases, even though the survivor is working hard to break free of her or his abusers, these programmed self-states continue to report to, and return to, the abusers, often out of the conscious awareness of the most-often conscious parts of the psyche. Ongoing access allows the abusers to retaliate against their victims for attempting to break free and to escalate their abuse and programming in efforts to increase their control of their victims.

June 13 - -  Study ties bullying, domestic violence - Boys who are bullies are nearly four times as likely as non-bullies to grow up to physically or sexually abuse their female partners, a study led by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found.

June 30 - -  Effects of sexual abuse last for decades, study finds  - Young girls who are the victims of sexual abuse experience physical, biological and behavioral problems that can persist for decades after, a new study shows.

June 30 - Robert Hughes Univ of Illinois - How Custody Evaluators Think about Domestic Violence - some domestic violence involves the use of extreme forms of control that forces a partner to do something she does not want to do. Johnson labeled this form of violence as "intimate terrorism."

These findings raise important questions about the degree to which domestic violence is being thoughtfully considered in custody decisions.  It is important for the legal system to develop training and policies such that custody evaluators can appropriately consider custody arrangements in domestic violence situations


July 5 - MedPage Today - When child abuse has been substantiated, a number of risk factors can predict the likelihood that abuse will be repeated if the child is returned to the care of the abuser, according to a prospective cohort study. 
When the parents or caregivers were in their teens or twenties, were survivors of abuse, and had never taken parenting classes -- the child faced a 54% risk of being harmed again, wrote Suzanne R. Dakil, MD, and colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Risks higher even higher -- 60% -- for children younger than 8.5 yrs who were returned to parents that had taken parenting class, the researchers reported online in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Because both Federal and state laws encourage keeping children in the family home if possible after abuse, it's crucial that accurate ways of predicting future risk be identified, Dakil's group stated.
44% of children were reported to child welfare authorities again after the index report.



TUESDAY, July 19 - (HealthDay News) -- A new study provides evidence that stress from domestic violence during pregnancy may make offspring more prone to stress as an adult.

TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News)Long Term Affects To Heath - Women who've suffered from gender-based violence are more likely to develop anxiety disorders or other mental woes, experience physical and mental disabilities, and have worse quality of life than other women, new research shows. 
In the United States, more than 20% of women have experienced intimate-partner violence, stalking or both. A full 17% have reported rape or attempted rape, according to background information in the study.
15% of women who had been subjected to one form of gender-based violence experienced (PTSD). - Subjected to 3 or more forms of gender-based violence, that number jumped to more than 56%, the investigators found.
"This study really demonstrated the extent of gender-based violence and the long-term consequences of violence against women," said Andrea Gielen, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. "There are huge implications for health services; this is not just a one-time treatment in the ER for a broken bone. People who treat women for any health-related issues need to think about the extent that such violence can affect women," Gielen said.

August 2, 2011 - HealthDay - Violence Against Women Can Take Lifelong Toll: Study - Women who've suffered from gender-based violence are more likely to develop anxiety disorders or other mental woes, experience physical and mental disabilities, and have worse quality of life than other women, new research shows.  Gender-based violence includes rape and other forms of sexual assault, intimate-partner violence (such as spouse abuse) and stalking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - Reuters Health - Murder, suicide top medical deaths in pregnancy -  Expectant mothers are more likely to die from murder or suicide than several of the most common pregnancy-related medical problems, U.S. researchers have found.

November 13, 2011 - Reuters Early Sexual Abuse Increases Heart Risks - CHICAGO (Reuters) - Women who were repeatedly sexually abused as girls have a 62 percent higher risk of heart problems later in life compared with women who were not abused, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.

November 13, 2011 -  American Heart Association - Abused girls may have higher risk of heart disease, stroke as adults -
Study Highlights:  Women who experienced unwanted sexual activity as children or adolescents had a higher risks for heart attacks, heart disease and strokes as adults compared to women who reported no unwanted sexual activity. Severe physical abuse as children or teens also was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as adults.

December 9, 2011 - MedLine Plus - Abuse May Alter Child's Brain Activity.  Children who are abused or exposed to family violence have changes in brain activity similar to those seen in combat veterans, a new study finds. "This underlines the importance of taking seriously the impact for a child of living in a family characterized by violence. Even if such a child is not showing overt signs of anxiety or depression, these experiences still appear to have a measurable effect at the neural level," McCrory said.

December 14, 2011 - Contact: CDC Division of News & Electronic Media - (404) 639-3286 - Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Widespread in the US - New survey finds these types of violence affect the health of millions of adults.  On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, according to findings released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story – more than 1 million women reported being raped in a year and over 6 million women and men were victims of stalking in a year, the report says.


2010 Studies

January 25 -  MedPage Today - MEDICAL NEWS: Domestic Abuse May Affect Reproductive Freedom - In some abusive relationships, men may use strategies to force women to become pregnant, including sabotaging their birth control, researchers reported.   More than half of the women surveyed -- 53% -- reported physical or sexual partner violence.
Approximately a third of the women who reported partner violence also reported pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.   Altogether, the effect of both partner violence and reproductive control nearly doubled a woman's odds of unintended pregnancy (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.11 to 3.58)

Among the reasons men would want their partners to bear children: "It ranges from things like wanting to leave a legacy, to a straightforward desire for attachment, to having absolute control over her body," Miller said.

"It's about power and control," Mays said. "It's another way of saying, 'this girl's taken, this girl's mine.'”

"Women in abusive relationships are sometimes forced to bear children as a means to keep them dependent on their partner and sometimes as a means to justify additional -- and sometimes more severe -- abuse," Bonomi said.

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