What is Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?

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

– Tina Turner

Domestic violence is the deliberate intimidation, violent and abusive behavior inflicted by one person against another as part of a methodical pattern of power and control. The abuse oftentimes occurs between spouses, dating partners or ex-spouses, but also involves abuse against children or elders. Domestic violence includes but does not limit to physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse, and may vary in frequency and severity. Domestic violence can happen to anyone– regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexual preference and economic background.

woman praying

Examples of the different types of abuse are:

  • Physical Abuse: pushing, kicking, slapping, punching, strangling, shaking, spitting, biting, hitting, restraining, confinement, burning, assault with a weapon, murder
  • Verbal Abuse: name calling, threatening, humiliating (in private or public), gaslighting, teasing, 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 victim’s whereabouts, threatening self-harm 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
  • Stalking: a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person causing them to fear for their safety or the safety of someone else, e.g., unwanted calls or texts, leaving unwanted gifts, following or watching the victim, taking pictures without permission, showing up unannounced to the victim’s home, job, etc.
  • Digital Abuse: using technology to bully, harass, stalk, and/or intimidate, demanding passwords, monitoring activity on social media, keeping tabs on the victim’s whereabouts via tracking devices, calling and/or texting incessantly, posting personal or intimate information, revenge porn
  • Reproductive Coercion: refusal to use condoms, birth control sabotage, using control or threats of violence to pressure, 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
  • Immigration Abuse: using the victim’s immigration status to control them, e.g., threatening to have the victim deported, destroying citizenship paperwork, refusing to allow them to learn English

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.