Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by a partner in an intimate relationship in order to gain and maintain power and control in a relationship. Traditionally, domestic violence has had a narrow definition, and someone was considered a victim of domestic violence only if the perpetrator was related to him/her by blood or by marriage. However, with the new Expanded Access law, enacted in 2008, that definition has expanded to include all current or former intimate partners, regardless of whether they are married or have a child in common. This means same-sex couples and dating couples (including teens, have access to domestic violence victim resources (such as Orders of Protection).
There are several different types of abuse:
-Physical Abuse Physical abuse
involves contact designed to inflict pain, suffering, punishment, or harm. This can include, but is not limited to, hitting, punching, kicking, shoving, strangling, throwing things at the partner, stabbing,
-Emotional and Verbal Abuse
Emotional abuse and verbal abuse involves acts designed to intimidate, humiliate, and belittle the victim. These can include, but are not limited to name-calling, criticizing, demeaning and insulting the victim, and withholding affection, making the victim feel unloved or unwanted. Isolation is a form of abuse where the perpetrator cuts off the victim from family, friends, or resources. The victim will not be allowed to go out with friends, visit family, or have access to a car to get around. This ensures that the victim has to rely on the perpetrator and will be reluctant to leave or ask for help.
-Financial Abuse Financial abuse
involves keeping the victim financially dependent on the perpetrator. This can include, but is not limited to, not allowing the victim to keep a job, restricting access to bank accounts or credit cards, withholding basic necessities, and making the victim account for all spending. Like isolation, this ensures that the victim is dependent on the perpetrator and feels like he/she won’t be able to make it on his/her own.
-Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse
includes, but is not limited to, minimizing your feelings about sex, rape, and withholding sex and affection. Sexual abuse is yet another tool perpetrators use to humiliate and control their victims.
-The Cycle of Violence while the abuse may not always be constant, domestic violence, and its cycle, is always happening. There are three phases to the cycle: the tension building phase, the acute abuse phase, and the honeymoon phase.
-In the tension building phase, the perpetrator begins to show anger and pick fights. Verbal abuse begins, and the victim tries to ease the situation by giving in to the perpetrator and becoming compliant; trying to keep the peace.
-In the acute abuse phase, the tension has peaked and there has been some form of significant violence.
-In the honeymoon phase, the perpetrator is loving and apologetic. There is generosity and kindness; possibly gifts. The perpetrator assures the victim that the abuse will never happen again.
It Is Still Abuse If . . .
-The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result of being pushed.
-The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely he will continue to physically assault you.
-The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted!
-There has not been any physical violence. Many women are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.
The most important thing to remember about domestic violence is it is NEVER the victim’s fault!