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WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?



Domestic violence is violence that occurs in a domestic setting, such as marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence takes place against partners (current or past), parents, the elderly, and children. It can take place between heterosexual or same-sex couples.


The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any intimate relationship, past or present, that is used by one person or partner to get or maintain control over the other person or partner.


Every year in America, 10 million women and men are victims of domestic violence and each day over 20,000 calls are made to domestic violence hotlines across the country. Clearly, this is a crisis in our country, as well as around the world.


Types of Domestic Violence:


Emotional and Verbal Abuse is a pattern of non-physical acts and behaviors that is meant to control, scare, or isolate a person. It lowers the victim’s sense of identity and self-worth and can cause a decline in their mental health. Here are some examples:

  • Humiliating the victim in public or in private

  • Name calling, shaming, put-downs, blaming

  • Intimidating or threats of harm

  • Isolating from supportive family and friends

  • Demanding all time be spent together

  • Intense jealousy

  • Monitoring the victim’s schedule or their movements, monitoring victim’s technology, using GPS to track

  • Criticizing, ridiculing, using guilt, manipulating

  • Dismissing or invalidating the victim’s feelings or needs, or who they are as a person

  • Threatening to kill themselves

  • Deny or lying about an event

  • Withholding affection or giving the silent treatment

  • Treating victim like a possession or property

  • Refusing to take part in the relationship

  • Telling victim their ideas, opinions, thoughts, and/or values are invalid, illogical or “don’t make sense”.


Physical Abuse is injury or trauma to the body that is deliberately caused. Here are some examples:

  • Punching, hitting, slapping, kicking, pushing, biting, cutting, stabbing, shooting, etc.

  • Suffocating, strangling (sometimes called choking), scalding, burning

  • Physically restraining or trapping in a room/closet, holding hostage, forcing drugs, or giving them without the victim’s knowledge

  • Withholding food or medical care

  • Hitting walls, kicking down doors, throwing objects, destroying property

  • Threatening with a weapon or physical assault (this includes threatening to harm children and pets)


Sexual Abuse is any non-consensual and/or non-sober sexual act. It can involve pressure or coercion and is often forced. This type of abuse frequently takes place in intimate relationships, such as marriage. Here are some examples:

  • Forcing or manipulating victim into having sex or perform sexual acts

  • Insulting in sexual ways or calling explicit names

  • Choking or restraining during sex without consent

  • Hurting with weapons or objects during sex

  • Involving other people in sexual acts without consent

  • Ignoring victim’s feelings about sex

  • Forcing to watch or make porn

  • Attempting to give victim an STI


Financial Abuse is a way to keep a victim financially unstable as well as keeping them dependent. Financial abuse makes it difficult for a victim to leave an abuser in order to gain safety. Here are some examples:

  • Controlling use or access to money

  • Confiscating victim’s money, credit cards, or paycheck

  • Hiding or taking funds

  • Refusing to work or contribute to household budget

  • Sabotaging victim’s work responsibilities (examples are calling and texting incessantly or unhooking car battery)

  • Hiding or stealing funds

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention that is directed at a specific person and will cause that person to feel fearful and/or that they are in danger. Stalking is about power and control. Here are some examples:

  • Mailing multiple cryptic messages or stealing mail

  • Hang up phone calls

  • Following victim in car or on foot

  • Harassing phone calls or texts

  • Leaving things, such as flowers or notes on doorstep

  • Watching victim from a distance

  • Hiding in order to spy on victim

  • Trespassing on or vandalizing property

  • Violation of order of protection

  • Monitoring partner through technology, such as social media, hacking into accounts and/or GPS.


Pet Abuse is when an abuser uses pets to coerce and control a victim. A beloved pet is like a family member and can, unfortunately, be used as a powerful tool in domestic abuse. Of course, these actions are a part of domestic violence, but are also animal abuse in themselves. Some signs of an abused pet include a tucked tail, flinching at human contact, unexplained fractures, unprovoked aggression, overly submissive, being left in a kennel or chained outside exclusively. Here are some ways an abuser uses a pet to control the victim:

  • Threatening to harm, kill or get rid of a pet.

  • Not allowing basic pet care such as feeding and access to an area to go to the bathroom.

  • Not allowing money to be spent on the pet for basic items such as food or veterinary care.

  • Threatening to get rid of a service or emotional support animal that is vital to the victim's wellbeing.

  • Treating the animal better than partner and/or children.


Religious Abuse is using scripture and/or traditions to force or coerce a victim to submit or behave.

  • Using scripture and/or traditions to encourage someone to submit.

  • Ridiculing or insulting the other person's religion or spiritual beliefs.

  • Isolating you from your faith community or not allowing a person to practice their beliefs.

  • Using the faith community to encourage someone to stay in an abusive relationship.

  • Using scripture to blame the victim or justify the abuse.

  • Using scripture or traditions to limit access to health care.

  • Using scripture or traditions to control a victim's sexuality and/or reproduction.


As you can tell, the types of domestic violence are many. Just because someone is not being physically abused doesn't mean they aren't being harmed. Other types of abuse can be just as traumatic as physical abuse, but without the bruises. If someone you know is in an abusive relationship of any kind, the best thing you can do is to listen and believe them.


If you think you may be the victim of abuse, please seek help from a Domestic Violence Advocate. If you are local (Fremont of Custer Counties) call us at 719-275-2429. Or you can call your local Crisis Center or the National Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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