Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control imposed by one partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse and neglect. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s persistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.
Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. It is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury or death, psychological trauma, and emotional and spiritual brokenness. The devastating physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and affect lineages.
For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Violence and abuse are motivated by a need to control, humiliate, dominate and harm.
Domestic violence intensifies over time. Abusers may often seem wonderful initially, but gradually show signs of more controlling and aggressive behavior.
Abuse may begin with behaviors that could be downplayed such as name-calling, jealousy, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers are likely to apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love. What at the beginning could be confused as harmless, like wanting to spend all their time only with them because they love you so much) escalates into extreme control and abuse (threats to hurt or kill the victim or others if they speak to anyone, etc.). Some examples of these early behaviors are:
To end domestic violence and sexual assault, we all need to be part of the solution. Educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up, and being an engaged bystander are all examples of things you can do to help.
20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States
1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical violence such as beating, burning, strangling by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner
Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.
1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
Victims of domestic violence are at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
Violence in relationships occurs when one person feels entitled to power and control over their partner and decides to use abuse to gain and maintain that control. In relationships where domestic violence exists, there is always one primary person that uses the threat or act of violence as a constant source of power, control, and abuse in the relationship.
Some of the signs of an abusive behaviors and relationships are:
Knowing what to say to someone who may be experiencing domestic violence, abuse or neglect can be overwhelming and scary. Though it is difficult, the most important thing is to simply be a friend. Here are some communication keys to help you connect: