Nearly a quarter of women experience violence in their lives that affects their health: they are raped, abused or sexually abused. For the most part, these violent attacks take place in the "social near field".
Domestic violence is one of the biggest health threats for women in Germany - nationwide. And 95% of women are the victims of domestic violence, whether it be subtle forms of violence through behaviors that ignore the needs and sensitivities of the injured party, or humiliation, insults and intimidation, as well as mental, physical and sexual ones Abuse, rape and killings.
Although there are acts of violence in same-sex relationships as well, they outweigh the numbers as much as violence of women against men in a relationship.
Out of the way situation?
Victims of domestic violence often perceive their situation as hopeless:
- Instead of security, they experience violence because the perpetrator is or was a beloved person.
- Threat, isolation and control by the violent partner unsettle and shatter self-esteem.
- Almost always children are also affected; Therefore, all follow-up decisions are often accompanied by the concern of "taking away one parent" from the children if one decides to split.
- Financial dependency between the victim and the perpetrator as well as the lack of economic perspectives complicate the step towards separation.
Contact point doctor
Women who experience domestic violence often ignore the experience and are rarely willing to report to the police or to contact a counseling center for a variety of reasons. However, they use ambulance, gynecological and general medical practices to treat their injuries. Doctors are therefore often the only and usually the first point of contact for women who have suffered violence. But hardly a doctor has learned in education or training, what he should pay attention to a patient in which he suspects violence behind the symptoms.
Physicians are required to do two things: they must also perceive the injuries and symptoms of their patients from the point of view of "domestic violence", allow the possibility of experience of violence at all and be aware of it. This is particularly important because long-term consequences of violent attacks can often manifest themselves in chronic, mental and pyschosomatic complaints. Anxiety, long-term sleep disturbances, eating disorders, addictive dangers, persistent gynecological complaints can also be the result of violence against women such as hematomas, knocked-out teeth, broken bones or genital injuries.
Treat health consequences
In addition, physicians need to be able to adequately handle and document the injuries and consequential health damage so that this documentation can be used as evidence. The attending physician must be able to sensitively conduct the conversation with the abused woman and show solutions or other ways.
Find the right address
In the rarest cases, women themselves bring up the violence they have been subjected to. Research shows, however, that they find it easier to be approached by a doctor or a doctor. Subtle hints, such as the display of corresponding information material in the waiting room, can alert the traumatized patient to the fact that her doctor knows about the problem of domestic violence. For some time now, there have been approaches in the Federal Republic of Germany to make physicians more aware of the issue of "domestic violence". For example, the "Signal" intervention project in the First Aid Station of the Benjamin Franklin University Hospital in Berlin has scientifically supported an approach to better prepare physicians. It was found that 63.9 percent of the women surveyed believe that a history should generally ask for experienced violence. Only 4.6 percent of affected women found this question unnecessary. For the conversation itself, a quiet environment should be chosen, in which there are no interruptions. In no case should the honesty of the patient be questioned or attempted to trivialize the process.