Domestic violence can be defined as a
behavior used by one partner in a relationship to gain
and maintain power and control over the other partner or
a family member.
Domestic violence can be
economic, and/or psychological actions or threats. This includes any behaviors that intimidate,
manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce,
threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound.
Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth
and/or self-esteem. 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
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.
Abuse: 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
Grabbing, pinching, hair-pulling, hitting, slapping,
shoving, biting, etc. Physical abuse also includes denying a
partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.
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.
The Federal Bureau
of Justice says:
85% to 90% of the
perpetrators of intimate partner abuse are men who
abuse their female partners;
to 12% of perpetrators are from same sex
to 6% of perpetrators are women who abuse their male
that if all men
and women who are abused reported the abuse, the
percentages would stay about the same.
Abusers and the
people they abuse are from all races, ethnicities,
sexual orientations, socioeconomic and educational
backgrounds, neighborhoods and professions.
Abusive men share the
belief that they are entitled to treat their
partners any way they see fit to maintain control.
The only thing that
puts a woman at risk for abuse is the fact that she
is a woman.
Domestic violence has
a horrific effect on not only women who are abused
or sexually assaulted. It significantly effects
family members, friends, co-workers, businesses,
neighbors, and the community at large. Children who
grow up witnessing their father abusing their mother
are most seriously effected by this crime. They
develop a variety of social and physical problems
and feel alone and afraid of the man who is supposed
to protect them. Many of them feel responsible for
the beatings their father gives their mother.
Research shows that
boys who grow up with a father that abuses their
mother are 7 times more likely than other boys to
abuse their intimate partners when they grow up.
Girls who grow up with an abusive father are not a
risk for being with an abusive partner when they
grow up. If they find themselves in a relationship
with an abusive partner, it is more difficult for
them to end the relationship than it is for other
women who are abused.