Walking For "A Woman's Place" - Domestic Violence & Traumatic Brain Injury In Woman

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By: Areli Pellegrino BA, CBIS

When thinking about the causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), most people do not recognize the role of intimate partner violence (IPV). IPV is the most common form of violence against women in the world, with nearly 1 in 3 women age 15 or older experiencing physical or sexual IPV. According to an article by Nicole Fisher, a contributor to Forbes Magazine, "...up to 90% of injuries sustained in IPV are to the head, face, and neck. And research has shown that 75% of women with a history of IPV sustained at least one partner-related TBI and nearly 50% sustained repetitive TBIs. Thus, it is sadly not surprising that the women who experience IPV report symptoms consistent with those who have sustained TBIs, such as problems with, “concentration, memory, headaches, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep.”

Our Responsibility

As specialized professionals in traumatic brain injury, it was our responsibility to raise awareness of this correlation with IPV.

“ As the female owner of a post-acute rehabilitation company for individuals who have traumatic and acquired brain injuries, I am very concerned about the impact of domestic violence and the potential for women to be seriously harmed while in relationships both physically as well as psychologically. The devastation caused by a traumatic brain injury affects not only the victim but their family system as well. At Success Rehabilitation Inc. we support AWP through such endeavors as Walkathons.

Additionally, Success will have a booth at the PA Women's Conference in October where we will have educational and informational material readily available to 10,000 women to highlight the issue of domestic violence and traumatic brain injury. If we can encourage just one individual to leave a threatening situation, then we will accomplish our objective to assist with community awareness of this issue.” - Joanne Tangney, Founder & CEO, Success Rehabilitation

To do this, a collection our internal professionals and clients called the "Ladies Group Committee," decided to host a Walkathon to fundraise for our friends at A Woman's Place (AWP). AWP is the only domestic violence community benefit organization in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They help women seek refuge from abuse and rebuild a life free from violence. The work of AWP in our community is essential as the Bucks County population is more than 600,000 residents and growing.

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Leading up to our Walkathon, we thought it was essential to educate our Success Rehabilitation community through a Q&A presentation on the relationship between IPV and TBI.



Complicating Factors

Why is traumatic brain injury (TBI) from domestic violence going unrecognized in women?

Due to the popularity of the NFL and awareness around PTSD in combat veterans, the public views the male population as the most significant population sustaining a TBI. Thus, there has been more research on these topics.

However, "the number of women sustaining IPV-related TBIs dwarf the combined number of military and NFL TBIs or concussions reported. Using annual estimates of severe physical violence (totaling 3,200,000 women), about 1,600,000 women are estimated to sustain repetitive IPV-related TBIs in comparison to the total annual numbers of TBIs reported for the military and NFL (18,000 and 281, respectively)."

What about those silenced at the hands of another, survivors of domestic violence?

According to 2018 article published by NRP, “ Hundreds of survivors of domestic violence have visited neurologist Glynnis Zieman's Phoenix clinic in the past three years - what she says is the first program dedicated to treating traumatic brain injury for survivors of domestic violence. In her shared finding she reports, "81 percent of our patients had so many hits to the head, they lost count.” Nationally, roughly 30% of victims or less report injuries from domestic abuse due to fear of their abuser.

Our Walkathon

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These findings were all the fuel we needed to get together in solidarity to help spread awareness and raise money for the only domestic violence shelter in Bucks County. It was great to see so many of our Success community join our Walkathon on May 29th, 2019.

" We walked for awareness and support, for every woman and every domestic violence survivor, and for traumatic brain injury survivors everywhere."- Areli Pellegrino BA, CBIS

Abuse thrives only in silence, and I will guarantee you that someone reading this blog has been witness to, our abused in their lifetime. We walked for our mothers, daughters, aunts, and neighbors in hopes of helping to break the silence. We walk for those who have last their lives at the hands of an abuser. Remember, everyone can #bthechange you want to see in your community!

If you need help, call AWP 24-HR HOTLINE at 800.220.8116.


Success Rehabilitation is on a mission to create opportunities for those who have experienced brain injury: one individual, one family, one success at a time. Its team of specialized professionals in traumatic brain injury and neurological impairment deliver consistent quality service effectively and efficiently for patients in the Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic region.  

Its five CARF Accredited specialty areas of brain injury are offered in a post-acute residential and outpatient setting, ensuring the highest quality of service excellence. Recently, they have become the only medical rehabilitation provider and first program for individuals with brain injury to earn B Corporation Certification, verifying they meet the highest standards of social accountability to balance profit and purpose.