Domestic Violence is a difficult subject to broach. Many people don’t even know what Domestic Violence truly is, so we decided to begin our blog series with defining Domestic Violence.
Domestic Violence is legally defined as, “The pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” (www.justuce,gov) This abuse can be any physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions that influence another person and includes any behavior that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Domestic Violence affects all genders, nationalities, religions, ages, and relationships. It does not discriminate against heterosexual couples, gay couples, poly couples, open couples, interracial couples, older couples, younger couples, rich couples, poor couples, etc. It is an evil that affects anyone and everyone.
There’s a lot of information there to swallow and fully comprehend. So let’s start easy.
Physical Abuse is any action that physically harms another. This includes hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, and goes so far as to include denying a partner or child medical care. It also includes forcing drugs or alcohol upon your partner or child.
Sexual Abuse is any sexual coercive action. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Undermining an individual’s self-worth and self-esteem is abusive. Oftentimes this is called verbal abuse, and includes but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
This one is a little bit harder to define. Essentially economic abuse is exerting control over your partner or family member by forcing them or attempting to force them to become wholly financially dependent on you. This includes maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
Psychological Abuse is maintaining control over another using fear based tactics. This could be causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and/or forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
As stated earlier, Domestic Violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, education level, and relationship. Domestic Violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has an enormous effect on family members, friends, co-workers, witnesses, and communities.
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