Even though domestic violence awareness month has ended, you can still help to end domestic violence and make a difference. Education is the key! Knowing the definition of domestic violence, the symptoms, whose usually involved, and what you can do to help is a good start to how we can put a dent in this type of family and dating violence.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors that involve violent confrontation between family or household members, physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm. Family or household members include spouses/former spouses, those in (or previously in) a dating relationship, adults related by blood or marriage, and those who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
The family member/partner/parent uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors like intimidation and threats to isolate, coerce and control the other person or people in the family. The family member/partner/parent’s abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional-psychological, economical, reproductive and digital. These types of abuse include any behaviors that frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. The violence may not happen often, but may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor.
Domestic violence is not always obvious at the beginning of a relationship. An abusive partner may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship, really caring and into you.
Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows; this is the common thread in abusive relationships: possession and control. Some of the behaviors to look for include:
- Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
- Controlling your money or the money
- Controlling who your friends are and when you see them or your family
- Pressuring you to have sex, having sex, or doing sexual things when you don’t want to
- Taking over your social media, having all your passwords, constantly checking your posts, Twitter, Snapchats, Instagram, etc. and questioning you about it
- Being very jealous
- Telling you that you are a bad parent
Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse - physical force or violence that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. Physical abuse includes assault, battery, and inappropriate restraint.
Emotional Abuse - intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions or behaviors of the person through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of the individual. Emotional abuse chips away at a person’s feelings of self-worth and independence, they may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without their partner they will have nothing.
Sexual Abuse & Coercion - Lies on the continuum of sexually aggressive behavior that can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions, feel obligated.
Reproductive Coercion - Involves behavior intended to maintain power and control in a relationship related to reproductive health by someone who is, was, or wishes to be involved in an intimate or dating relationship with an adult or adolescent. Reproductive coercion interferes with contraception use and pregnancy.
Financial Abuse (Economic Abuse) - Making or attempting to make a person financially dependent on the other by maintaining total control over financial resources and withholding access to money. It is also one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in and tied to an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes a person’s ability to stay safe after leaving an abusive relationship.
Digital Abuse - This type of abuse is very common in a younger person’s relationships but can affect all ages. It is the use of technologies (taking passwords) such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. In most cases, this type of abuse is emotional and/or verbal and though it is perpetuated online, it has a strong impact on a victim’s real life.
Please be aware of this issue in your community and family. And if you are a victim of domestic or dating violence, make sure that you do not leave evidence behind when looking for resources. Be sure to erase your computer/search history. Learn more technology safety tips. There is always a computer trail. Also, get someone to help you if you do not know how to approach a friend or family member; i.e., check into what organizations in your community can offer support and assistance. Knowing is the first step!!!
PLEASE NOTE: If you (or the person you plan to share these resources with) suspect that your computer is being monitored, do not open the links below!