LIGHT OF HOPE
Learning More About Domestic Violence
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is the abusive behavior, in an intimate relationship, by one person to gain or maintain power and control over the other. This could involve physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, and stalking/harrassment actions or threats. Such behaviors are classified as domestic violence even after one partner has ended the relationship. It affects individuals, regardless of age, gender, education, economic status, race, religion, and sexual orientation. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or who are dating.
Abuse is never the fault of the victim and it can be hard for many reasons, including safety, to end the relationship.
If you are in an abusive relationship, or think that you are, support and safety are critical. Here are some examples of abuse:
Physical abuse can instill an environment of constant fear. It does not always leave marks or cause permanent damage. Physical violence may include:
- Hitting, slapping, punching, or kicking you
- Scratching, biting, or grabbing you
- Shoving or pushing you
- Strangling or smothering you
- Destroying your property or treasured posessions
- Throwing objects to hurt or intimidate you
- Attacking or threatening to attack you with a weapon
- Any threats or actual attempts to kill you
- Hurting or threatening to hurt your children and/or pets
- Interupting your sleep
- Denying you medical treatment
- Denying you access or neglecting your basic needs like clothing, food, and shelter
If physical abuse is present early in the relationship, it commonly gets worse over time, espcially during pregnancy or when you try to leave. While physical abuse is the form of abuse that is most commonly known, it may or may not be part of an abusive relationship.
There are many forms of non-physical abuse. Find out more, below:
Emotional/psychological abuse is a behavior your partner uses to control you or damage your emotional well-being. It can be verbal or non-verbal, and it can be subtle or overt. Emotional/psychological abuse is present in all abusive relationships, in some form or another. Abuse may include:
- Name-calling or intimidating you
- Mocking you or making humiliating remarks or gestures
- Acting superior; placing little value on what you do or say
- Yelling at you or standing is a menacing way
- Threatening or making you fearful
- Manipulating your children
- Telling you what to do or where you can and cannot go
- Interrupting, changing topics, not listening or responding, and twisting your words
- Putting you down in front of other people
- Saying negative things about your friends and family
- Isolating you from your friends or relatives
- Cheating or being excessively jealous; accusing you of having affairs
- Minimizing the abuse or blaming you or others for their behavior
- Watching where you go; monitoring your phone calls, texts, car, and computer use
Economic/financial abuse happens when the abuser makes you entirely financially dependent upon them. It occurs in 98% of all cases of domestic violence. For many people, this is the reason they feel that they cannot leave an abusive relationship. Financial abuse may include:
- Denying you access to bank accounts; hiding assets
- Running up debt your name; ruining your credit
- Taking your money; withholding money or giving you an allowance
- Not letting you earn your own money
- Jeopardizing employment by stalking or harassing you at your workplace
- Denying access to a vehicle or damaging the vehicle, so that you cannot get to work
- Sabotaging employment or educational opportunities
Stalking and Harassment
Stalking and harassment can happen between strangers or in relationships, where the a person or former partner demands your time, even after you make it clear that you no longer want contact with them. This may include:
- Making unwanted visits or sending you unwanted messages (voicemails, text messages, emails, etc.)
- Following you, including installing GPS tracking software on your car or cell phone without your knowledge or consent
- Checking up on you constantly
- Refusing to leave when asked
Sexual abuse can occur in committed relationships and marriages. Find out more, here.
What are the health consequences of domestic violence?
Besides the physical injuries, there are many short-term and long-term health issues related to intimate partner violence. Below are some health consequences that you may experience as a result of violence.
High blood pressure
Chronic pain issues
Substance abuse dependency
Traumatic Brain Injury
Migraines and headaches
Premature birth and death of infant
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Delayed prenatal care
Mental and Behavioral Health
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Suicidal behavior in females
Inability to trust others, especially in intimate relationships
At Faces of Hope Victim Center, we have specialized doctors, nurses, and crisis counselors onsite to help you, free of charge.