About Domestic Violence Against Women
Revised: May 25, 2013
Domestic Violence Is Against The Law In Most States
Statistics about the actual occurrence of domestic violence are not exact, but the incidence is so high that we can be certain that it is a significant health problem.
Physical Abuse: is a crime and includes hitting, shoving, slapping, punching, burning, bruising, twisting, choking, pulling hair, preventing access to an exit or using a weapon.
Mental And Emotional Abuse: is harm to a partners ability to think, reason or have feelings, intimidation, degradation and humiliation, or demonstrations of omnipotence. Emotional abuse takes the form of systematic degrading of the victims self-worth. This may be accomplished by withholding of affection; name-calling; using put-downs,, making threats, abusing pets, discussing love affairs, refusing to talk, showing extreme jealousy, taking anger with mate out on the children, refusing a partner friends, time, money and interests of their own, and acting in other ways that imply that the victim is crazy. Emotional abuse can be the hardest for women to identify.
Sexual Abuse: includes forcing sex when a partner does not want it, is sick or is hurt by it, sexual name calling, scaring a partner during sex, insisting on unwanted sexual practices, not revealing a sexually transmitted disease or failing to protect a partner from it, or forbidding birth control. It is characterized by physical attacks on the breast and/or genital area, rape with objects and includes marital rape.
Economic Abuse: includes preventing others from making any financial decisions, having to justify all legitimate spending, unjustified blame for financial problems, withholding of financial information and access to finances, and not allowing the partner to work outside home.
Battering is defined as a series of physical attacks that occur repeatedly. Battery It is not as prevalent as other forms of abuse. An estimated 90% of all married couples who seek counseling have engaged in physical abuse. Battering is almost always associated with control over an intimate or family member in order to coerce services and obedience.
Psychological battering involves all of these features of emotional abuse, but also consists of a least one violent episode or attack on the victim to maintain the impending threat of additional assaults. Destruction of property is violence directed at the victim even though no physical contact is made between the batterer and the victim This includes destroying personal belongings, family heirlooms, or even the family pet. This destruction is purposeful and the psychological impact on the victim may be as devastating as a physical attack.
The relationship between men and women involved in domestic violence is extremely dependent. Despite this extreme mutual dependence women often feel they have some control over the situation. Their perception of being in control is an illusion. As long as women feels their is hope for the relationship, she will remain in the relationship even if she and her children are being abused. The average length of time in which women will stay in a domestic violence situations has shortened since shelters, 24 hour hotlines and other community resources have become readily available.
To leave domestic violence , a woman needs:
In most cases, battered women and children will remain at risk because:
In a battering relationship, the cycle of violence includes three distinct phases.
When the cycle is first beginning, the perpetrator does not necessarily want to hurt the woman. He believes that he merely wants an intolerable situation to stop.
Sometimes, the cycle will shorten to only two phases. The buildup of tension and then an attack. In these situations the victim will soon feel trapped or imprisoned. Once they have felt trapped or imprisoned, and are able to escape, victims are less likely to go back to the perpetrator.
After an acute battering phase, there is usually what is called the "Honeymoon Phase". The batterer may genuinely be sorry for the pain he has caused. He will apologize and ask forgiveness. He will attempt to make up for his behavior and the victim will make a sincere effort to believe the situation will change. However wrong it may be, a victim will usually feel partially responsible for the abuse and somewhat responsible for their abusive partners well being.
Ask; "Are you afraid of anyone?"
"How can I help you?"
Provide numbers of hotlines to access specific strategies; i.e. safety plans for them and their children.
Ask a local shelter how you can help.
Remember perpetrators are making a choice. Abuse is not anger. Dont accept excuses.
Emphasize no one should be afraid of someone they love.
In nearly all domestic violence situations there is an identifiable pattern of abusive, controlling and coercive behaviors. These behaviors often include withholding money, destroying a person's self esteem, and threatening and engaging in physical violence. In many cases, abuse has the same impact as brainwashing. A person's sense of what is real, what happened, or will happen becomes distorted. There is usually increased isolation from people and resources. Perpetrators will often threaten to withdrawal privileges or support, or threaten abandonment and physical abuse. These behaviors are all used to control the victim through fear.
Law enforcement officers will use the criminal justice system to help protect you and will work for the abused person's benefit. It used to be that officers responding to domestic situations would attempt to calm things down and arrange for one party to leave the home for the evening. Police officers in many towns are trained differently in their response to domestic violence. They have shifted from merely keeping the peace to arresting the offenders, protecting victims and referring battered women to shelters and other community resources that are available to help victims of domestic abuse. They have an understanding that domestic abuse takes many forms and that violence is not usually a mutual combat. Domestic abuse is about one person dominating and controlling another by force, threats, or physical violence.
Stay in an area where you have access to an exit. Stay away from kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, or anywhere weapons might be available.
Begin establishing your independence.
The following is based in part on handouts published by: