What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a learned pattern of physical, verbal, sexual and/or emotional behavior in which one person in a relationship uses force and intimidation to dominate or control the other person. The partners may be married or not; heterosexual or homosexual; living together, separated, dating, have a child in common; or related by blood. Domestic violence occurs within all ethnic groups, all religions, all economic brackets, and all degrees of physical and mental ability, all categories of sexual preference, and all age groups.
pinching; shoving; kicking; grabbing; jerking; slapping; punching; spitting on; pulling hair or ears; scratching; strangling; twisting arms; bending back fingers or toes; restraining against will; throwing out of a vehicle; dragging; imprisoning; throwing objects at; burning; throwing down stairs, against a wall or furniture, etc.
rape (often after a battery or when victim is asleep); forcing to perform degrading and/or humiliating acts; forcing victim to “perform” in front of others or the children; forcing victim to “pose” for degrading and/or humiliating pictures, etc.
name-calling; put downs; insults; extreme “jealousy” (possessiveness); criticism; sexual “jokes”; degrading references; withholding affection as “punishment”; “jokes” concerning the victim’s appearance, mannerisms, faults, gender; threats and intimidation; insulting victim’s abilities as a parent, spouse, lover; resenting and/or mistreating children because of attention victim shows to children; accusing victim of having affairs; telling partner about one’s own affairs; threatening to abuse and/or take children away from victim; threatening to kill self and/or children if partner tries to leave; threatening to assault others (victim’s parents, siblings, best friend) if s/he tries to leave; screaming and yelling; ignoring victim; demanding that victim account for every minute of the day; icy silences; gross selfishness; dishonesty; attitude of entitlement; manipulation; arrogance; always blaming decisions and behaviors on victim; exploiting any perceived weakness the victim may have; Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde syndrome; etc.
Economic abuse occurs where one partner has control over all financial resources. For example, a man may forbid the woman to work, or, if she does, he may insist that she hand her paycheck over to him. She may have to beg for money to buy necessities and when it is given, it may often be insufficient. She is then criticized for being stupid and incompetent in failing to provide adequately with her “allowance.”
This may include: delivering verbal abuse in front of other people, such as put-downs, “jokes,” criticisms about partner’s weight, appearance, sexuality, intelligence, etc.; controlling behaviors such as following partner to work, controlling access to friends, constant phone calls at work, or accusations of imagined affairs etc.; isolating partner by tearing down friends and family and causing arguments; locking partner in or out of the house, cutting off the telephone, never letting partner use the car, etc. Social abuse is the constant monitoring and control of a partner’s activities, outings, and friendships.