Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. It occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person.
Who Are The Victims?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. In general, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Male, female, young, old, Asian, African-American, Jewish, Catholic, rich, poor, highly educated or not, everyone is a potential victim. Some people have a higher risk than others. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Men are sometimes abused by partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women. Domestic violence can happen in heterosexual or same sex relationships.
Domestic violence is not limited to obvious physical violence. Domestic violence can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, harassment, and stalking. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes:
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse.
- Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent is sexual abuse.
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive.
- Economic Abuse: making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Domestic violence is a major public-health problem. It affects millions of people and often results in physical and emotional injuries and even deaths.