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Domestic violence is rarely talked about, but it negatively affects a large portion of our population. Over four million women experience domestic violence every year, and one in four women will experience assault or rape by a partner in their lifetime. Children are just as likely to experience domestic violence, with over three million children living in homes where domestic violence occurs every year. Children who live in these violent atmospheres experience a 60 percent increase in the rate of neglect and abuse. Domestic violence is prolific and forever alters people’s lives.

Long-Term Effects of Domestic Violence

Leaving a domestic violence situation doesn’t instantly reverse the effects of years of physical and emotional abuse that many people faced; the effects of domestic violence often stay with survivors for the rest of their lives. Many women often face financial hardship after leaving a domestic violence situation because either physical or emotional trauma makes it difficult to gain or keep a job. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among families. Other long-term effects of domestic violence may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Heart Disease

The Physical Effects of Domestic Violence

People in physically abusive relationships may or may not show signs of physical abuse. However, leaving a violent relationship doesn’t always correct the physical toll many survivors face. Depression and anxiety may cause eating disorders that cause survivors to lose or gain extreme amounts of weight. Anxiety can also cause survivors to lose their hair. However, most noticeably for many people is the loss of teeth through physical violence.

Survivors and Self-Esteem

Survivors who have lost teeth due to physical violence often experience issues with their self-esteem. Those with missing teeth often feel self-conscious about their appearance. Lower self-esteem can make it harder for women to become hired, which places a large financial burden on their shoulders. Children with missing teeth experience more social anxiety at school. Low self-esteem can also limit a person’s ability for form new and healthy relationships.

Give Back a Smile

In association with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), Dr. Jamie Sands works closely with the Give Back a Smile foundation. Give Back a Smile attempts to restore cosmetic damage that many women and children have experienced at the hands of domestic violence offenders. At no cost for survivors, Dr. Jamie Sands works to restore the aesthetic and functional aspects of the teeth and mouth. This process can be life-changing for many domestic violence survivors, helping restore their self-esteem and their sense of self-worth.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are in need of assistance, please contact The National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or visit their website here. If you are a survivor of domestic violence and need assistance restoring your smile or you wish to contribute to the Give Back a Smile organization, please visit their website by clicking here.