How common are abusive relationships?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing

An educated guess says abusive relationships are very common. We do not know that for a fact or as an actual number, only a guess. Here's why:

  • no common definition of abuse or relationships either
  • no consistent way to gather the numbers people do collect across the country
  • no way to force people to disclose an abusive relationship

We do know that:

  • for 20 or 30 years now, according to national surveys done by a variety of researchers, reported abuse exists in a minimum of approximately 10% of the population both male and female.
  • with pregnant women and new moms approximately 35% report abuse.
  • reports of abuse increase in times of economic hardship.
  • abuse in dating relationships occurs just as frequently as abuse in marital relationships.
  • all types of abuse are underreported.
  • most people define abuse as physical assault only, adding to the underreporting
  • The divorce rate in North America has been just under 50% for decades, implying that abuse is common.

Personal opinion....the key to a long term successful relationship is kindness and mutual respect. These are the antitheses to abuse.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.