DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is a pattern of abuse that a partner (former or current partner, spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend) uses to control the behavior of another.
Most relationships have difficult times, and almost every couple argues now and then. But violence is different from common marital or relationship problems. Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse that a partner-former or current partner, spouse, or boyfriend or girlfriend-uses to control the behavior of another.
Domestic violence often starts with threats, name-calling, and slamming doors or breaking dishes, and it can build up to pushing, slapping, and other violent acts. If you are concerned about your relationship, ask yourself the following questions.
Does your partner:
- Embarrass you with put-downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Take your money or paycheck, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
- Make all of the decisions?
- Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Prevent you from working or going to school?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal or is your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
- Threaten to kill you?
- Threaten to commit suicide in order to manipulate you?
If any of these things or other types of abuse are happening, you need to seek help. It’s important to know that you are not alone. The way your partner acts is not your fault.
Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical injury
example: grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hitting, biting, arm-twisting, kicking, punching, hitting with blunt objects, stabbing, shooting
Withholding access to resources necessary to maintain health
example: medication, medical care, wheelchair, food or fluids, sleep, hygienic assistance, forcing alcohol or other drug use
Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent
example: marital rape, acquaintance rape, forced sex after physical beating, attacks on the sexual parts of the body, forced prostitution, fondling, sodomy, sex with others
Attempting to undermine the partner’s sexuality
example: treating him/her in a sexually derogatory manner, criticizing sexual performance and desirability, accusations of infidelity, withholding sex
Instilling or attempting to instill fear
example: intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, victim, and/or others, threatening to harm and/or kidnap children, menacing, blackmail, harassment, destruction of pets and property, mind games, stalking
Isolating partner from friends, family, school, and/or work
example: withholding access to phone and/or transportation, undermining partner’s personal relationships, harassing others, constant “checking up,” constant accompaniment, use of unfounded accusations, forced imprisonment
Undermining or attempting to undermine partner’s sense of worth
example: constant criticism, belittling partner’s abilities and competency, name-calling, insults, put-downs, silent treatment, manipulating partner’s feelings and emotions to induce guilt, subverting a partner’s relationship with the children, repeatedly making and breaking promises
Making or attempting to make the victim financially dependent
example: maintaining total control over financial resources including partner’s earned income or resources received through public assistance or social security, withholding money and/or access to money, forbidding attendance at school, forbidding employment, on-the-job harassment, requiring accountability and justification for all money spent, forced welfare fraud, withholding information about family running up bills for which the victim is responsible for payment
source: New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
Myth #1: A slap never hurt anyone.
Reality: Domestic violence has nothing to do with a single isolated incident. Domestic violence can occur over a period of many years and becomes more frequent as time goes on. Physical injuries result in many people being hospitalized, even death. Constant beating is also emotionally damaging and can lead to low self-esteem, little or no self-worth and little self confidence.
Myth #2: Abused people enjoy it or they would not stay in the relationship.
Reality: It is very difficult to leave an abusive relationship. People may be reluctant to leave for a complex set of factors such as shame, economic dependence, insecurity about supporting their children alone, love or concern for the abuser. They may have to give up their home, possessions, work or friends. When an abused person does leave, it does not guarantee that they are safe.
Myth #3: Abuse is restricted to poorly educated families from lower socioeconomic classes.
Reality: Abuse is found in every level of society. Survivors of different races or ethnicity all experience the same rate of battering. High school graduates and women with some college education have the highest rates of battering. Women in cities, suburbs, and rural areas all experience the same rate of abuse.
Myth #4: Domestic violence is a crime committed by men against women only.
Reality: We often think of abuse as only physical, and that males don’t experience outright physical abuse from their female abusers. Although most victims of domestic violence are female (1 in 4 women), approximately 1 in 14 men have experienced domestic violence in all forms.
Myth #5: Domestic abuse is a family matter
Reality: Abusing, battering, assaulting or raping another person is a criminal offence. Domestic Abuse has far-reaching social implications for everyone, affecting the abused person’s ability to lead a productive life and encouraging children brought up in an abusive home to repeat the cycle themselves and having a detrimental impact on their well-being.
Myth #6: Abusers have a problem expressing anger and just need anger management to resolve the issue.
Reality: Most abusers have no problem resolving disputes with their boss or other outside person without resorting to violence. They chose to use violence and other forms of abuse against their partner as a means of maintaining their power over them.
Myth #7: Some women ask for it, provoke it or even deserve to be abused
NOBODY deserves to be beaten or abused. Women often have to walk on eggshells and try their best to avoid another incident. This domestic violence myth encourages the blame-shifting from the abuser to the abused and avoids the stark reality that only the abuser is responsible for his/her own actions.