Trigger Warning: Mentions of Abuse
Domestic Violence: The Never-ending Cycle
Domestic violence has always been a prevalent issue, one which went unreported in previous times and even sometimes still. Victims often refuse to take this to the authorities because of the fear of the abuser and how they may potentially harm them and their loved ones. In some cases, domestic violence victims have the false belief that their abuser actually loves them, however if that were the case then they wouldn’t have put the victim in a vulnerable position where they caused them harm, in the first place. Almost 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States of America. In a year, this equates to more than 10 million men and women. A number which is frightening.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship, which is used by one partner to gain control and power over another intimate partner. This can include any behavior that intimidates, manipulates, terrorize, coerce, humiliate, isolate, frighten, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
The types of abuse are elaborated below:
- Physical abuse includes slapping, hitting, grabbing, shoving and hair pulling amongst other things. It can also include denying medical care or forcing alcohol or drugs upon the victim.
- Emotional abuse is when a partner’s self worth or self esteem is undermined. This can include criticism, name calling, diminishing one’s abilities or damaging one’s relationship with their children.
- Economic abuse refers to restraining or controlling another’s ability to use or maintain economic resources even when they are entitled to them. This can include fraud, or coercion to limit a person’s access to their own financial information or assets. Additionally, economic abuse can also involve exploiting powers of attorney, guardianship or conservatorship.
- Psychological abuse includes causing fear inside an individual by threatening physical harm to self, partner or those who the partner cares for or by intimidation. It can also involve forcing isolation from friends, family, work or school.
- Sexual abuse refers to coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual behavior or contact without an individuals consent. It can include forcing sex after physical violence, marital rape, attack on sexual parts of the body or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Technological abuse is a pattern of controlling, harming, threatening, harassing, exploiting, impersonating or monitoring another individual on any form of technology.
This can happen to anybody regardless of age, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or sex and affects people of all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds. There are no limitations for abuse as it can occur in a same sex or opposite sex relationship between a couple who is married, living together, sharing a child or just dating.
An abusive relationship can have a negative impact on the upbringing of a child who is witnessing it daily. It may alter their perspective on what a healthy relationship is and may scare them from seeking out one for themselves. Additionally, those children who grow up witnessing this abuse are amongst those who are seriously impacted by this crime and frequent exposure predisposes them to numerous mental illnesses, social and physical problems. It also makes them realize that violence in a household is a normal way of life – therefore increasing their risk of becoming the next generation of abusers and victims. Domestic Violence also has a substantial effect on friends, co workers, family and other witnesses.
It is essential that the public is educated about the dynamics of abuse so they can help victims understand their experience. Additionally it will assist them in recognizing signs of abuse in the relationships of their loved ones, or their own.