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About Abuse

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain power and control over another in an intimate or familial relationship.

Many terms are used interchangeably to describe and discuss domestic violence. It may also be referred to as: abuse, domestic violence, battery, intimate partner violence, or family, spousal, relationship or dating violence.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

The Many Facets of Abuse

Domestic violence can be characterized by many types of abuse. Any or all of these types of violence/abuse may occur in domestic violence situations:

Based on Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs’ The Deluth Model.

Power &Control Physical & Sexual Violence encompasses the inner areas of abuse Intimidation More on this topic + Making the victim afraid by using looks, actions, or gestures. This may include smashing things, destroying the victim’s property, abusing pets, or displaying weapons. Emotional Abuse More on this topic + Emotional abuse may include making a victim feel bad about themselves, putting them down, calling them names, making them thing they’re crazy, playing mind games, humiliating them, or making them feel guilty. Isolation More on this topic + An abuser might try to control what the victim does, who they see and talk to, what they read, or where they go. They might also limit the victim’s outside involvement and use jealousy to justify their actions. Minimizing, Denying, Blaming More on this topic + Abusers often make light of their abuse and not take the victim’s concerns about it seriously. They might say that the abuse didn’t happen or shift the responsibility for the abusive behavior by saying the victim caused it. Using Children More on this topic + Some abusers leverage children against their victims. They might use the children to relay messages to the victim, use visitation as an opportunity to harass the victim, or threaten to take the children away. Privilege More on this topic + Being in a position of privilege can lead to abusers treating victims like servants. They might insist on making all the big decision, act like the “master of the castle,” or be the one to define roles in the relationship. Economic Abuse More on this topic + A common form of abuse, economic abuse can prevent a victim from getting or keeping a job. In turn, the victim has to ask for money or is dependent upon an allowance. Abusers might also take the victim’s money or not give them access to family income. Not having financial resources makes the victim feel as though they can’t escape the abuse. Coercion & Threats More on this topic + Abusers might make-and carry out-threats to harm the victim. They might threaten to leave, commit suicide, or report the victim to welfare. Coercion and threats can make the victim drop charges or scare them into doing illegal things.

The widespread effects of domestic violence are deadly and devastating.

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