What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of behaviors in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another. These behaviors are often described as emotional, psychological, sexual or physical abuse.
Domestic violence is also called battering, family violence, intimate partner violence, and spousal abuse. Although domestic violence can happen to men, statistically speaking, women are usually the victims. 1/5 to 1/3 of all women will be a survivor of domestic violence at some point in their life. Domestic violence and dating violence are about power and control over another.
Domestic violence includes:
- Hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, punching, burning, choking, not allowing you to leave home, and using objects to cause injury (guns, knives, bats, etc.).
- Threats, telling you what you can or cannot do, name-calling, put downs, eventually wearing on a survivor's self-esteem and self-worth.
Property and Economic abuse:
- Stealing or destroying personal belongings, hurting pets, taking money, withholding basic needs such as food and clothing, not allowing a person to work.
- Rape, unwanted touching, forcing sexual acts, refusing to practice safe sex.
Many survivors suffer from all forms of abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse may be more subtle than physical harm, but this does not mean that it is less destructive. Many battered women report that emotional and psychological abuse is more difficult to experience. Physical injuries may heal, however, the emotional scars of domestic violence can last a lifetime. These types of abuse may also serve as precursor to more dangerous incidents if the survivor stays in the relationship.
The following questions may help you decide whether you are being abused:
Does your partner ever...
- Hit, kick, shove or injure you?
- Use weapons/objects against you or threaten to?
- Force or coerce you to engage in unwanted sexual acts?
- Threaten to hurt you or others, have you deported, disclose your sexual orientation or other personal information?
- Control what you do and who you see in a way that interferes with your work, education or other personal activities?
- Steal or destroy your belongings?
- Constantly criticize you, call you names or put you down?
- Make you feel afraid?
- Deny your basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, or medical and physical assistance?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, it may be time to think about your safety.
If you have questions or need to talk to someone, please call HAVIN.
All services are free and confidential.