Domestic violence is horrible, and while the term has its place in a legal sense, it can obscure what’s going on. It’s easy to hear the phrase and assume domestic violence only applies to extreme assault cases where one partner harms the other, but domestic violence can include many kinds of abuse and levels of violence.
It’s important to know what domestic violence entails. Learn more about what the phrase means, what counts as domestic violence, and how you can get help in this guide.
Important Note On Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a sensitive subject. If you read this information and believe you or someone you know is a victim, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The first step is usually to go to the police, but there are other resources as well.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, always call 911 before doing anything else.
You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. This hotline can connect you to other support and provide guidance on what to do.
Finally, you can seek legal counsel, especially if you have a criminal case and want to hire your own attorney.
Safety When Leaving An Abusive Partner
Getting help when you’re the victim of domestic abuse can be challenging, and it can also be dangerous. Often, perpetrators are more likely to escalate violence when they sense their victim is trying to leave. So, do what’s necessary to protect yourself and any children involved.
It’s also common for victims to feel they are responsible for fixing the relationship or the abusive partner, but it’s never your fault or your responsibility. The abusive person is the only one to blame for their harmful actions.
Remember that you deserve to be happy and safe.
Defining Domestic Violence
Domestic abuse can have many definitions, but the United Nations explains it as a “pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”
Intimate partner violence, another term for domestic abuse, can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and even psychological.
While some situations are simpler to identify as domestic violence than others, intimate partner abuse encompasses more than severe physical violence.
For example, it can be various behaviors that intimidate, threaten, manipulate, and humiliate, including emotionally doing these things.
Statistics On Domestic Violence
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, and anyone can be a perpetrator. These dynamics happen regardless of a person’s age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, financial situation, or race. Domestic violence can also occur in all stages of a romantic relationship.
While abuse can occur in any romantic relationship or family dynamic, some statistics are crucial to note.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in nine men are victims of serious domestic physical violence or sexual violence. Also, about one in 15 children see or are exposed to domestic violence.
Signs Of Domestic Violence
Because domestic violence comes in many forms, the signs of domestic violence vary. However, you want to watch out for patterns of control, intimidation, or fear.
Some common signs of domestic violence include:
- Any physical violence, including kicking, hitting, punching, etc.
- The use of force or manipulation to coerce a sexual act
- When they verbally degrade, insult, or criticize you
- They control your finances
- Extreme jealousy or possessiveness
If you feel unsafe or controlled in your romantic relationship, don’t hesitate to seek help and get to safety. You are worthy of love and respect, especially from those closest to you.