Domestic Violence: So You Think You know
So you think you know….
what domestic violence is. You aren’t being beaten, pushed or bruised, so you know you aren’t in a relationship with domestic violence. Okay, so sometimes, you can’t get the money when you ask for it, even though it’s in the bank account to which you don’t have a card or checkbook. Sometimes it’s frustrating to keep answering calls and text messages about where you are when you’ve already said where you’re going and when you’ll return. But, that’s love, that’s all. Sometimes the name calling is a bit much and you always work hard to do things exactly as instructed because you hate being yelled at and treated like a child. But, again, that’s love. Plus, no one else is gonna want you, that’s what you were told.
Are you sure you know what domestic violence is?
Here is the definition: a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. (http://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence)
Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
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 is abusive. 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: Is defined as 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: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – 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.
This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Now, I ask you again, do you know what domestic violence is? Are you in a relationship with domestic violence?
You see domestic violence can happen to anyone, no matter what race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender you are. It affects people who are rich, middle class or poor and all education levels. It happens in opposite-sex and same-sex relationships whether married, living together or just dating. Junior high school, high school and even college students can have a relationship with domestic violence.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers. (http://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence)
Examples of abuse include:
- name-calling or putdowns
- keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
- withholding money
- stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
- actual or threatened physical harm
- sexual assault
Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.
Why do I refer to this as a “relationship with domestic violence”? Well, it’s simple. If everything you do is to avoid the negative treatment and behavior of your significant other, then your relationship is not with the persons, it is with domestic violence because that is what controls the relationship.
Could I be wrong? Yup, I could. But, from personal experience, I don’t believe so. I remember being afraid. I remember noticing the signs and thinking that I had to get out before it was too late. True I was very young, but that it a good thing. It actually saved me a lifetime of, what would have been a horrible relationship, I’m sure.
Why am I addressing this? Because everyone knows someone in a relationship like this, but we may not realize it. How do we stop it? By not standing for it. Educate yourself. Instead of saying that is not my problem, find a way to do something beneficial. Since this problem affects everyone, everyone has to do something about it.
While most of the time when we hear about domestic abuse, we think of a man abusing a woman or parents abusing children, that is not always the case. I’m here to tell you that grown children abuse parents, caregivers abuse patients and women abuse men. There are no boundaries. Every line you can think of is crossed. I became a domestic violence/abuse advocate to help others. Some of the people that need help don’t have access to it. So the next time you hear fighting going on in a house, it may not be any of your business. Then again, it may be a case of domestic abuse. Educate yourself so you can recognize the signs and know the difference.
Please understand that domestic violence/abuse is about control. If you don’t believe me, re-read the definition. When I got extremely angry at my husband, I hit him. He never hit me back. I am not proud of that. But I realized that I was wrong because I wouldn’t like it if he hauled off and hit me when he got angry. The court ordered anger management and I went. I learned and it helped. Now, I walk away until I calm down. While my situation was not about control, it was still wrong. No one deserves to be hit, whether there is anger present or not. Even if the person wronged you, there is no excuse for hitting unless you are defending yourself. Sometimes a person won’t let you walk away and that is when you have to make a judgment call. There are no cookie cutter answers, but there are options. Education will help with those.
Okay, there is so much that I want to say, but I’m going to stop here. Please check out the resources listed her or others online and help make a difference.
I believe the end to this plague starts with each of us doing our part.
Helpful Resources for you or someone you know:
Local Police department …they can give further resources and assistance
http://www.domesticviolence.org/definition/(U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.)
https://www.childwelfare.gov/ (1-800.394.3366) You can also chat live on this website (10am-5pm EST)
http://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/domestic-violence-help.html -Please click here if you are a victim and are in need of legal guidance.
Please help stop domestic abuse by sharing this article with others. For more info please visit the above links.