Domestic Violence is a pattern of behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone; can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another or others.
Domestic Violence includes:
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. Physical abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.
- Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
- Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse: Causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Causes Domestic Violence
Some people with very traditional beliefs may think they have the right to control their partner, and that women aren’t equal to men. Others may have an un diagnosed personality disorder or psychological disorder. Still others may have learned this behavior from growing up in a household where domestic violence was accepted as a normal part of being raised in their family.
A partner’s domination may take the form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Studies suggest that violent behavior often is caused by an interaction of situational and individual factors. That means that abusers learn violent behavior from their family, people in their community and other cultural influences as they grow up. They may have seen violence often or they may have been victims themselves. Some abusers acknowledge growing up having been abused as a child.
Children who witness or are the victims of violence may learn to believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve conflict between people. Boys who learn that women are not to be valued or respected and who see violence directed against women are more likely to abuse women when they grow up. Girls who witness domestic violence in their families of origin are more likely to be victimized by their own husbands. Although women are most often the victim of domestic violence, the gender roles can and are reversed sometimes.
Alcohol and drugs may contribute to violent behavior. A drunk or high person will be less likely to control his or her violent impulses toward their partner, so keeping such drinking or drug use episodes to a minimum may be valuable for a person living in a domestic violence situation.
No cause of domestic violence, however, justifies the actions of the abuser, nor should it be used as a rationale for their behavior. These possible causes are only to better understand why an abuser believes it is acceptable to abuse their partner physically, sexually, psychologically or emotionally. Ultimately an abuser needs to get help for their unhealthy and destructive behavior, or find themselves living a solitary and lonely life.