Domestic violence, Hidden Homelessness and Mental Health

Meseret Haileyesus
Posted January 9, 2020 from Canada

Everybody knows that women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide.

The likelihood of having suicidal thoughts was 3.5 times greater for women who had experienced domestic violence than those who hadn’t.

I am not sure how our society understands the term homelessness. Its is not only sleeping on the street

  • Women who experience violence in their own homes are homeless
  • Women who flee violence are homeless
  • Women who stay in women’s shelters are homeless
  • Women who couch surf with family, friends, and strangers are homeless

Women escaping violence are at high risk for housing instability and homelessness. Housing instability differs from homelessness because women have a place to live; however, maintaining that residence may be difficult for a variety of reasons (from financial to mental health concerns)

We know that women’s homelessness is vastly underestimated and often hidden. Women may experience “episodic homelessness” as they move in and out of abusive situations and stay at women’s shelters. 

Life expectancy in the homeless population is around 45 yrs vs. 77 yrs as the average. A leading cause of homelessness in women is from fleeing domestic violence. Several studies show 8 of 10 people experiencing homelessness suffer from chronic mental health conditions. 

Let us educate our community about the stigma of homelessness. Changing this will be an enormous endeavor. What will it require? Raising our voices individually and collectively, as some attempt survivors have. 

Let us honor the lives that were lost,  for attempt survivors, for grieving families, and for our friends and family of the future, who one day will face atrocious battles against mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

Data source - ASA

 

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Comments 11

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Tamarack Verrall
Jan 09
Jan 09

Dear Mesi,
You are such a beacon of light undoing rash judgements about all of the reasons women become homeless, and outlining so clearly the realities of mental and physical pressures that can be simply too much to bear, especially escaping violence. Your city is lucky to have you there and it being the capital city of Canada I applaud all of the inroads to Government officials you have made with your important message.
with love in sisterhood,
Tam

Dewy Ink
Jan 09
Jan 09

You are so right. And the women also feel an inner empty or homeless feeling trying to save their sinking boat of a marriage.

Anita Shrestha
Jan 10
Jan 10

Dear Sis'
Yes you are saying truth. It is happen in each and every country and home

Jill Langhus
Jan 10
Jan 10

Hi Mesi,

Happy New Year! Thanks for spreading awareness on women and homelessness. I never really thought about it in this way. So sad. And, yes, this isn't talked about either.

I hope you're doing well, and having a good week.

FabriceK.
Jan 11
Jan 11

Well done Mesi,
The stigma is high as people couldn't expect, indeed. You are such an inspiration to some of these women... Keep it up.

lizzymark
Jan 12
Jan 12

So great and truthful,women who experience violence in their homes are truly homeless, because a home is a place where you are loved,cared for at ease and peace,a place where you matter. But if all of these is not present then its homelessness. Thanks for shearing your beautiful thought.

Lisbeth
Jan 14
Jan 14

Hi Mesi,
How you made me laughed :-). A lots of us are mentally ill haha but when it comes to such issues we quickly think about those sweeping the roads haha.
Thanks for the awareness. Hope you are having a good day.
Warm regards

Ireti Emmanuel
Jan 15
Jan 15

Thank you, Mesi,
Your write up has opened my eyes to another dimension of homelessness. It is a silent and depressive violence against our women. We need to come together and end this form of homelessness

Akshaya9
Jan 16
Jan 16

Hi Meseret,
Thank you for sharing and giving us knowledge what is homeless mean. Hope you doing fine.

Have a nice day dear.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Dear Mesi,
I never thought about the homelessness of the women. It's true that domestic violence causes homelessness. We need to continue the fight to end domestic violence and protect our sisters at whatever cost.
Thanks for sharing and be blessed.

Sinyuy Geraldine
Jan 23
Jan 23

Hello Meseret, thank you for this lesson on domestic violence and homelessness. you may like to read a chapter of my PhD thesis which discusses this idea home. i am very happy that you see the word home / homeless in these perspectives. thank you so much, i pray that there will be less or no domestic violence at all as we continue to fight against it.