Behind the definition

Behind the definition

“If you are unhappy with anything…whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it…”
– Tina Turner

Domestic violence is defined as deliberate intimidation, violent and abusive behavior inflicted by one person in a domestic setting against another. Oftentimes, the abuse occurs between spouses, dating partners or ex-spouses, but may also involve violence against children or elders. It includes a consistent pattern of one or more types of abuse, including physical and sexual, varying in frequency and usually hidden. Domestic violence can (and DOES) happen to anyone; regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual preference and economic background.

Examples of the different types of abuse are:

  • Physical Abuse: pushing, kicking, slapping, punching, choking, shaking, spitting, biting, hitting, restraining, confinement, burning, assault with a weapon, murder
  • Verbal Abuse: name calling, threatening, humiliating (in private or public), gaslighting, teasing, mocking, harassment, criticizing, yelling
  • Emotional Abuse: making the victim feel worthless, destruction of property, gaslighting, name calling, alienating the victim from their family and friends, neglecting, silent treatment, possessiveness, creating the need to “walk on eggshells”, humiliating (in private or public), “blame game”, instilling fear, controlling of the victims whereabouts, threatening to harm themselves to prevent partner from leaving
  • Sexual Abuse: forcing someone to engage in unwanted, unsafe, and degrading sexual activity, humiliating someone for their sexual choices, forcing someone to exploit themselves sexually via pornography, trafficking, cyberbullying
  • Financial Abuse: withholding access to economic resources such as money, paychecks, bank accounts or credit cards, exploiting the victim’s resources for personal gain, stealing or defrauding the victim’s assets, withholding daily necessities such as food, medication, clothes, toiletries, harassing the partner at their place of work, creating financial burdens by purposely damaging the victim’s credit or racking up bills
  • Reproductive Coercion: refusal to use condoms, birth control sabotage, using control or threats of violence to pressure to initiate, continue or terminate a pregnancy, threats or acts of violence against partner’s reproductive health
  • Religious Abuse: using the victim’s personal beliefs to manipulate and control them, preventing the victim from practicing their religious faith, shaming and humiliating the victim for their beliefs

If you are in an abusive relationship or believe you might be, please contact your local domestic violence agency or The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224.