What is Domestic Violence?
We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behaviors 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, economical, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
•Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc.
•Denying a partner medical care
•Forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her
•Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent
•Attacks on sexual parts of the body
•Forcing sex after physical violence has occurred
•Treating one in a sexually demeaning way
•Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem
•Diminishing one's abilities
•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
•Forbidding one's attendance at school or employment
•Causing fear by intimidation
•Threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends
•Destruction of pets and property
•Forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work
Domestic Violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
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 who are 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. (Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org)