Social Services Focus: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

by Paulette Geanacopoulos, LMSW, National Philoptochos Social Work Director
Intimate partner abuse has been at the forefront of the news this week with the release of hotel security footage that shows Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting and rendering unconscious his fiancĂ©e (now wife), Janay Palmer.  This incident and others like it bring to light some of the misperceptions about violence against women.


·        Nearly 85% of all reported cases of adult domestic violence are women.  

·        Women are victims of intimate partner abuse regardless of race, age, ethnicity, religion, education, income, employment, profession, immigration status, marital status, sexual preference or physical ability.

·        Men abuse because they believe they have the right to do so.   


The victim is not at fault.  The ONLY person at blame is the abuser, and the ONLY way the abuse will stop is if and when the abuser takes responsibility for his actions.

The reasons women stay or return to an abusive relationship are complex:


·        Women stay because they love their partner – they want the abuse to end, not the relationship. 

·        Women stay because they fear becoming homeless.

·        They stay because they fear physical injury and death.  The most dangerous time for the victim is when she tries to leave or shortly after she has left – on average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day. 

What can you do? 


The most effective way to help a victim of intimate partner abuse is to help her develop a safety plan to ensure that both she and her children remain safe.  

More information:

The Social Services Department of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society published a manual entitled, “Domestic Violence: Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence in the Greek Orthodox Community” to raise awareness about this issue and ways that we, as a women’s faith-based organization can respond.  Click here for a copy of the manual which includes the document, “How to Develop a Safety Plan."
Click here for the Social Services Department webpage that has more resources.