What Is Domestic Violence?
Violent or other aggressive behavior and abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting such as in a marriage, relationship or cohabitation in order to establish an maintain POWER AND CONTROL.
Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.
In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partner.
Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
Tells you that you can never do anything right
Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
Controls every penny spent in the household
Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
Prevents you from making your own decisions
Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
Prevents you from working or attending school
Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
WHY DO PEOPLE ABUSE
Domestic violence and abuse stem from a desire to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partners, and they may enjoy the feeling that exerting power gives them. They often believe that their own feelings and needs should be the priority in their relationships, so they use abusive tactics to dismantle equality and make their partners feel less valuable and deserving of respect in the relationship.
No matter why it happens, abuse is not okay and it’s never justified.
Abuse is a learned behavior. Sometimes people see it in their own families. Other times they learn it from friends or popular culture. However, abuse is a choice, and it’s not one that anyone has to make. Many people who experience or witness abuse growing up decide not to use those negative and hurtful ways of behaving in their own relationships. While outside forces such as drug or alcohol addiction can sometimes escalate abuse, it’s most important to recognize that these issues do not cause abuse.
Who Can Be in an Abusive Relationship?
Anyone can be abusive and anyone can be the victim of abuse. It happens regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race or economic background. If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You might also blame yourself for what is happening. But, no matter what others might say, you are never responsible for your partner’s abusive actions. Being abusive is a choice. It’s a strategic behavior the abusive person uses to create their desired power dynamic. Regardless of the circumstances of the relationship or the pasts of either partner, no one ever deserves to be abused.
Information provided by: The National Domestic Violence Hotline.