A new study revealed more than 40 percent of women in the Seattle area had been physically or psychologically abused by their husbands, dates or boyfriends.
Dr. Robert Thompson of the Seattle-based Group Health Center for Health Studies, who led the study, called the findings an epidemic:
"But it flies under the radar, because of the stigma and shame associated with it -- as well as the fear that many health care providers have of opening what some call a 'Pandora's Box' of difficult problems that they are unsure how to address," Thompson added in a statement.
A random sample of more than 3,400 women members of a Seattle health maintenance organization were interviewed. Forty-four percent had suffered some form "intimate partner violence."
According to Reuters, a second study showed that women who have been slapped, kicked or otherwise abused were four times more likely to report severe depressive symptoms and three times more likely to report fair or poor health.
Of the women who were abused, 13 percent said it had persisted for more than 20 years.
I like to think I'm aware of what's going on in the world, but I am nonplused that intimate partner violence is that common. I must be very sheltered or very naive.