Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour 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, economic, psychological, or technological actions or threats of actions or other patterns of coercive behavior that influence another person in an intimate relationship with a partner. This means any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorise, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, sex, or gender identity, it 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, dating, or share a child.
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 seriously affected by this crime. 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.
Examples of abusive behavior include:
Physical Abuse: Types of physical abuse include, hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
Economic Abuse: Controlling or restraining a person’s ability to acquire, use, or maintain economic resources to which they are entitled. This includes using coercion, fraud, or manipulation to restrict a person’s access to money, assets, credit, or financial information; unfairly, using a person’s personal economic resources, including money, assets, and credit, or exerting undue influence over a person’s financial and economic behavior or decisions, including forcing default on joint or other financial obligations, exploiting powers of attorney, guardianship, or conservatorship.
Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include 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 work.
Technological Abuse: An act or pattern of behavior that is intended to harm, threaten, control, stalk, harass, impersonate, exploit, extort, or monitor another person that occurs using any form of technology, including: internet enabled devices, online spaces and platforms, computers, mobile devices, cameras and imaging programs, apps, location tracking devices or any other emerging technologies.
Communities need to keep having discussion about domestic violence so we can educate the public about the dynamics of abuse in intimate partner relationships, as well as to help victims understand their experience and family and friends of victims to recognise signs of abuse in the relationships of their loved ones.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence check out these useful Links:
Listen To Podcast: S4 E11: Domestic Violence - When Is Enough, Enough?