What Is Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to a pattern of violent and coercive behavior exercised by one adult in an intimate relationship over another. It is not "marital conflict," "mutual abuse," a "lover's quarrel," or a "private family matter." It may consist of repeated, severe beatings or more subtle forms of abuse, including threats and control.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical assault includes shoving, pushing, restraining, hitting or kicking. Physical assaults may occur frequently or infrequently, but in many cases they tend to escalate in severity and frequency over time
  • Sexual assault is any time one partner forces sexual acts which are unwanted or declined by the other partner
  • Psychological assault includes isolation from family and friends, forced financial dependence, verbal and emotional abuse, threats, intimidation, and control over where the partner can go and what she/he can do
  • Attacks against property and pets could be destruction of property which may include household objects or treasured objects belonging to the victim, hitting the walls, or abusing or killing beloved pets

The cycle of violence usually follows a predictable three phase cycle:

  • Tension builds up
  • The battering occurs
  • A period of remorse follows until the tension builds again starting the cycle over

What You Should Do if You Believe You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence

  • Trust your instincts and seek help from a domestic violence program in your community
  • Recognize that the abuse is not your fault
  • Know that you are not alone and that help is available
  • Talk in confidence with someone you trust (relative / friend)
  • If you choose to remain in the situation for now, set up a safety plan of action