Something my doctor said a long time ago when explaining to me my physical disabilities due to Domestic Violence...
He stated that when you are young and fall of a horse, that you can get back up and ride that horse again and hurt, but that you'd heal and not feel the injuries any more. Fast forward 20-40 years, and your body remembers that injury, which has been festering and creating issues within your body without you knowing, and now that same injury is now affecting you in the way of arthritis and inflammation.
Too often women that have gone through Domestic Violence didn't just fall off that horse once, but many times and injured many different areas of the body during her abusive period.
This doesn't even start to get into the mental and psychological impacts of Domestic Violence, and the psychological impacts that are long lasting which debilitates the body as well as the mind and soul.
To understand Domestic Violence, it takes a truly rounded approach and broad understanding of how Domestic Violence truly affects all aspects of life of a victim, and continued affects years after!
To Enhance Women’s Wellness, Protect Them From Abuse
Taking the politics out of women's health is critical – and Oregon is leading the way.
Abused women are twice as likely to suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, depression and insomnia.
As anyone who has experience with domestic violence knows, abuse does not always leave black eyes and bruises. Often, the damage is emotional or psychological. The Oregon legislature recently recognized this reality when it took steps designed to make it easier for abused spouses to seek help.
Oregon's Patient Privacy Bill gives people using health insurance the option of having the details of their medical visits sent only to them, rather than be shared with the policyholder. In cases of domestic violence, the policyholder may be the abuser. This law may encourage more victims to seek the treatment they need.
Additionally, Oregon's House of Representatives passed a bill that allows women to order a year's worth of contraceptives at a time, overriding a rule that restricted them to a three-month supply. This is a victory for working women, women in rural areas and students studying out of state. According to studies, ensuring that women can secure more than a 30- or 90-day supply will reduce the risk of unintended pregnancies by 30 percent.
As we focus on society's health and wellness, I hope we consider about how much more we can do to protect the health and well-being of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters. While other states ignore the needs of their female citizens, Oregon's elected representatives supported two important new laws. I would like to congratulate them.
Taking the politics out of women's health is critical for the well-being of our nation's precious resources. Most, if not all, of us owe some of our life's accomplishments to the love and support of our moms. But we still have a long way to go in ensuring the protection and well-being of every female citizen in this country.
The Society for Women's Health Research started a campaign called "Beyond the Bruises" to raise awareness of the link between domestic violence and chronic disease. One lesson that resonates with me is the need to ensure that health care providers are asking screening questions in an appropriate manner, to allow people to tell the whole story behind any abuse.
A 2013 survey by the society found that about 44 percent of women are victims of domestic violence, a number that may be underestimated. "Beyond the Bruises" stresses that domestic violence is more than just bruises and broken bones. It includes physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.
Women who speak with a health care provider about their abusive relationship are four times more likely to receive the health care and help that they need to leave the violent relationship. Yet 75 percent of women said they were never screened for domestic violence, according to the survey.
Research shows that abused women are twice as likely to suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, depression and insomnia. Nearly 25 percent of pregnant women experience domestic violence. Children of women who have suffered domestic violence also have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and limited social and learning skills compared to children of non-abused mothers.
Genetics, environment and lifestyle impact the chronic disease epidemic facing women. But so does abuse. Laws that help women to be independent and safe are not only just, they are a key step toward enhancing women's health and wellness.
Until next time, be well.