Tampa, Florida -- Domestic violence is a very real issue in our society. According to domesticviolencestatistics.org:
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women-more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
- Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone-the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
- The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
- Men who as children witnessed their parents' domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives as sons of nonviolent parents.
Many times, the victim feels trapped in the relationship and doesn't know how to get out. But one University of South Florida assistant professor is helping to teach and empower the victims using the universal language of dance.
"For me, what I am so thrilled about, is dance can be seen as a new language. The message will get across because the language is universal in dance."
Andrew Carroll with the School of Theatre and Dance at USF came up with the concept and produced a dance video which illustrates an unhealthy relationship.
He explains, "This main couple, she's being dominated by her partner, her male half -- whether it's a husband or boyfriend, whatever. There's verbal abuse."
It glides you step-by-step through an unhealthy, abusive relationship involving both verbal and physical abuse.
In his research, Carroll discovered many abused women seek shelter from abuse in bathroom stalls. "She will reflect upon the different things she's noticed that maybe aren't right in her relationship," he added. "Here looking in the mirror she's going to see all these things again. 'Change your clothes, I don't like them,' going through the cell phone, the grabbing, the verbal, the separating, and she's going to say, 'No, no, no more.'"
The target audience for this artistic dance video is young people.
It is also being used internationally in Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Germany, Russia, and many other countries as well as here in the United States. The Los Angeles School District is using it to help them communicate with students. Two hundred different languages are spoken in L.A. schools. "This ... they just watch and they engage in. There's no language."
Carroll says the CDC wants to use it in their domestic violence programs.
Again, the universal language of dance bridges all barriers. "And the final thing we see him coming out and, uh, she's gone. Yeah, she's gone and didn't even realize it."
Carroll has several more projects in the works. He's hoping to produce dance videos on suicide prevention, depression, substance abuse, peer pressure, sexuality issues, and healthy body image.