Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another partner. These acts of violence and coercion are committed by people of all genders against people of all genders.
While studies show that women are more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence, men are also victims, although they often choose not to report the abuse. IPV frequently occurs in a relationship involving a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, but it can also occur in other domestic relationships such as roommates, parents, grandparents and siblings.
What does domestic violence look like?
Intimate partner violence takes on many different forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, and stalking and/or harassment. Offenders use every way possible to control their victims, so most victims experience more than one form of abuse.
Physical. Many people mistakenly believe that all victims of IPV are physically assaulted. Perhaps that’s because physical abuse, such as restraining, biting, shoving, slapping, hitting, burning and strangulation, and its signs, like bruises, swelling, cuts, broken bones or even death, tend to be more noticeable. Abusers also use pervasive threats of physical assault against the victim, children or pets.
While some victims are severely beaten and even murdered, it is a misconception that all victims are beaten. Physical abuse may be the most noticeable type of abuse but it is not the most common. Research shows that physical abuse may happen sporadically, sometimes with months or years in between physically violent episodes.
However, the victim is conditioned to believe that the physical abuse is imminent at any time. Sometimes a simple look, gesture, or comment made by an abuser is enough to remind the victim about prior physical abuse, allowing the abuser to continue to maintain control.
Sexual. Abusers use sexual abuse to demean and control victims, and research shows that if there is physical abuse in a relationship, there is probably sexual abuse as well. It includes any unwanted complete sexual acts, incomplete sexual acts and sexual abuse with or without contact (e.g. rape, attempted rape, touching or harming private areas of the body and threats of assault). Sexual abuse is still sexual abuse even when the abuser and victim are married.
Emotional. Abusers intentionally try to destroy the victims’ self-esteem. This is an underlying theme in IPV. Abusers can emotionally control victims through constant criticism, name-calling, minimization and, if there are children in the home, alienation of the victim from the children. Often emotional abuse precedes acts or threats of physical or sexual abuse.
Economic. Financial abuse keeps victims dependent on abusers. The abuser may forbid a victim from working, or require a victim to work to support the family. Often abusers will harass the victim at their place of work with the goal of causing the victim to lose their job. Abusers may withhold basic necessities, providing money only to then demand oppressive accountability for dollars spent or may prevent a victim from opening a bank account or credit card
Psychological. Abusers traumatize victims, even causing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, through intimidation, threats and isolation. While abusers harm and threaten to harm victims themselves, abusers also threaten victims’ children and family, friends and coworkers, pets, too. They may also threaten suicide. They isolate the victims from any other source of support, causing the victim to feel that escape is impossible.
Stalking and/or harassment. Persistent and unwanted attention that creates tremendous feelings of fear and concern for safety.
Why should I care?
Since intimate partner violence affects everyone, we all need to be aware that we ourselves and our friends, family, coworkers, customers and students may experience some form of it. This is especially true here in Nevada as our Battle Born state, unfortunately, ranks high for IPV. To fix this, we must first understand how it affects our communities. Then we can come up with strategies to address it.
As noted, women are more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than men, and it is the single greatest risk factor to a woman’s health.
Police see rise in domestic violence calls amid coronavirus lockdown.
Isolation and financial stress can contribute to domestic violence. “The financial stress alone creates a ticking time bomb for some families with a history of domestic violence, ”Unfortunately many of these domestic violence cases occur in front of children and often the children become victims of abuse and assault, as well.”
The rise in reports of domestic violence incidents comes as shelters for abuse victims scramble to find ways to stay open. Many regularly operate near capacity and sometimes turn to local hotels to house families when they run out of space, which gets expensive quickly. Several nonprofit shelters said they’ve canceled or postponed fundraisers because of stay-at-home orders, making it difficult to help all that seek assistance. As Nyc domestic violence gear up for a potential increase in abuse victims seeking help money has become an issue. your support is needed.
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