What is Domestic Violence and Are You in It?

Hello my friend,

When you think of Domestic Violence, chances are you think of black eyes, broken bones, bruises etc.  The truth is, many women in abusive relationships primarily suffer from emotional abuse.  This was the case for me.  Although my husband did assault me in the beginning of our marriage, the primary abuse I suffered was emotional. However, the threat of physical abuse was always there.  It happened once, it could happen again.

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 perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.

Domestic Violence is an epidemic and it can affect anyone regardless of age, economic status, gender, race religion or nationality.  Often it is accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is only a fraction of a systematic pattery of dominance and control.  Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

It is not always easy to determine in the early stages of a relationship if one person will become abusive. Domestic violence intensifies over time. Abusers may often seem wonderful and perfect initially, but gradually become more aggressive and controlling as the relationship continues. Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. However, violence and control always intensifies over time with an abuser, despite the apologies. What may start out as something that was first believed to be harmless (e.g., wanting the victim to spend all their time only with them because they love them so much) escalates into extreme control and abuse (e.g., threatening to kill or hurt the victim or others if they speak to family, friends, etc.). Some examples of abusive tendencies include but are not limited to:

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away
  • Accusing the victim of cheating
  • Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  • Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go, or what they do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  • Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone)
  • Preventing the victim from making their own decisions
  • Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones, or pets
  • Intimidating the victim with guns, knives, or other weapons
  • Pressuring the victim to have sex when they don’t want to or to do things sexually they are not comfortable with
  • Forcing sex with others
  • Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control
  • Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol
  • Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either, keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
  • Destroying the victim’s property

As I was saying before, domestic violence does not always manifest as physical abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse can often be just as extreme as physical violence. Some may think that when there is lack of physical violence that the victim is in less danger or that the victim is less trapped by the abuser.  This is not the case, the threat is always there and many women that may not have experienced much physical abuse still lost their lives when trying to escape.

Also, domestic violence does not always end when the victim escapes the abuser, tries to terminate the relationship and seeks help.  Often, it intensifies because the abuser feels a loss of control over the victim. Abusers frequently continue to stalk, harass, threaten, and try to control the victim after the victim escapes. In fact, the victim is often in the most danger directly following the escape of the relationship or when they seek help: 1/5 of homicide victims with restraining orders are murdered within two days of obtaining the order; 1/3 are murdered within the first month, 

Unfortunately, unfair blame is frequently put upon the victim of abuse because of assumptions that victims choose to stay in abusive relationships.   The truth is, it is just not that simple.  It takes support and often the abuser has such control that they are unable to get the support they need.  These women have been so emotionally beaten down that they live in a world where the truth is what their abuser has been telling them.  It is so simply for someone that is not in it to judge but when you are in it, the world is a whole different place.  

Sadly, no one can do anything until the victim hits their rock bottom.  No matter how bad it is, they get to choose, not us.  We can be there to support them, help them get stronger and to get their life back but we can’t make that decision for them.  This is the most difficult part for me in helping women that are abused.  It also really cuts close to home for me because I have loved ones that are also abused.  The control that an abuser has over their victim can be very strong and it is difficult to break that control.  Throw some self doubt, fear and shame in there, it can keep them in the abuse for years.

I hope this information was helpful to you.  Thank you for checking out my blog and please come back again.

Peace and Blessings,

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