What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic abuse, also called "domestic violence" or "intimate partner violence", can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. (1) Domestic violence is among the most underreported crimes worldwide for both men and women. (2). Many people do not recognize themselves as abusers or victims because they may consider their experiences as family conflicts that got out of control. (3)
Who Is Affected By Domestic Violence?
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith or class
Victims of domestic abuse may also include a child or other relative, or any other household member. Domestic abuse is typically manifested as a pattern of abusive behavior toward an intimate partner in a dating or family relationship, where the abuser exerts power and control over the victim.
Domestic abuse can be mental, physical, economic or sexual in nature. Incidents are rarely isolated, and usually escalate in frequency and severity. Domestic abuse may culminate in serious physical injury or death. (1)Globally, the victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women, and women tend to experience more severe forms of violence (4)
What Are The Forms of Domestic Violence?
Acts of physical violence, such as slapping, hitting, kicking and beating. Sexual violence, including forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion.
Emotional (psychological) abuse, such as insults, belittling, constant humiliation, intimidation (e.g. destroying things), threats of harm, threats to take away children.
Controlling behaviours, including isolating a person from family and friends; monitoring their movements; and restricting access to financial resources, employment, education or medical care. (5)
-On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. (6)
-1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered "domestic violence." (6)
-1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime (6)
-1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (6)
-1 in 2 female murder victims and 1 in 13 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners. (7)
-On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive over 19,000 calls (8)
-Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year. (9)
-The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion per year. (9)
-Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse. (10)
-Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. (11)
-Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs (11)
-Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries. (11)
What Can You Do?
1. Know the signs. Domestic violence can happen to anyone—white, black, young, old, rich, poor, educated, not educated. Sometimes violence begins early on in a relationship and other times it takes months or even years to appear. But there generally are some warning signs. Educate yourself on what they are so you know when someone needs help
2. Don’t ignore it. Police officers hear the same thing from witnesses again and again—I heard/saw/perceived domestic violence but didn’t want to get involved. If you hear your neighbors engaged in a violent situation, call the police. It could save a life.
3. Lend an ear. If someone ever confides in you they are experiencing domestic violence, listen without judgment. Believe what they are telling you and ask how you can help.
4. Be available. If someone you know is thinking about leaving or is in fear the violence will escalate, be ready to help. Keep your phone with you and the ringer on, make sure you have gas in your car and discuss an escape plan or meeting place ahead of time.
5. Know the number to a nearby shelter. You never know who might need refuge in a hurry. Keep numbers to shelters and the National Domestic Violence Hotlinein your phone (800-799-7233).
6. Check in regularly. If a loved one or friend is in danger, reach out regularly to ensure his or her safety.
7. Be a resource. Someone experiencing violence may not be able to research shelters, escape plans or set up necessities like bank accounts and cell phones while living with his or her abuser. Offer to do the legwork to help ease stress and keep things confidential.
8. Write it down. Document every incident you witness and include the date, time, location, injuries and circumstances. This information could be very useful in later police reports and court cases, both criminal and civil.
9. Get the word out. Assist a local shelter or domestic violence organization in their efforts to raise awareness in your community. Or use your personal connections to start a grassroots campaign. Organize talks at your workplace wellness fair, HOA meetings and church groups.
10. Put your money where your mouth is. Use your power as a consumer and refuse to support the culture perpetuated in music, movies, television, games and the media that glorifies violence, particularly against women. (12)
We Need Your Support Today!
Notes: 1- United Nations, “What Is Domestic Abuse?” https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/what-is-domestic-abuse 2-Strong, Bryan; DeVault, Christine; Cohen, Theodore (February 16, 2010). The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society. Cengage Learning. p. 447. 3-Halket, Megan Mcpherson; Gormley, Katelyn; Mello, Nicole; Rosenthal, Lori; Mirkin, Marsha Pravder (2013). "Stay with or Leave the Abuser? The Effects of Domestic Violence Victim's Decision on Attributions Made by Young Adults". Journal of Family Violence. 29: 35–49 4-García-Moreno, Claudia; Stöckl, Heidi (2013), "Protection of sexual and reproductive health rights: addressing violence against women", in Grodin, Michael A.; Tarantola, Daniel; Annas, George J.; et al. (eds.) pp. 780–781, 5-Heise L, Garcia Moreno C. Violence by intimate partners. In: Krug EG et al., eds. World report on violence and health. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2002:87– 121. 6-Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J. & Stevens, M. (2011). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2010 summary report. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf. 7-Ertl, A., Sheats, K.J., Petrosky, E., Betz, C.J., Yuan, K., & Fowler, K.A. (2019). Surveillance for violent deaths — national violent death reporting system, 32 states, 2016. MMWR. Surveillance Summaries, 68(9). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/ss/ss6809a1.htm. 8-National Network to End Domestic Violence (2020). 14th annual domestic violence counts report. Retrieved from NNEDV.org/DVCounts. 9-World Health Organization (2004). The economic dimensions of intimate partner violence. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42944/1/9241591609.pdf. 10-Rothman, E., Hathaway, J., Stidsen, A. & de Vries, H. (2007). How employment helps female victims of intimate partner abuse: A qualitative study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(2), 136-143. doi: 10.1037/1076-89188.8.131.52 11-Truman, J. L. & Morgan, R. E. (2014). Nonfatal domestic violence, 2003-2012. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ndv0312.pdf. 12 Staff Writer "10 Ways You Can Help Prevent Domestic Violence, Domesticshelters.org https://www.domesticshelters.org/articles/ending-domestic-violence/10-ways-you-can-help-prevent-domestic-violence-where-you-live