What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as abusive behaviors that some individuals use to control their intimate partners.  This includes any type of violence, abuse or threat of violence that one partner commits against another.  Domestic violence is not only physical abuse but includes sexual, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse.  This is a serious problem that has been going on for centuries and affects millions of people, mostly women.  Domestic violence involves continuous behaviors, examples of this are punches, kicks, slaps, hits, shoves and forcing a partner to perform degrading tasks, using degrading remarks, sexual assault, rape and other tactics used to establish power or control over a partner.

Domestic violence can occur in any relationship, married or unmarried, homosexual or heterosexual.  When it comes to domestic violence, physical abuse is more obvious and easier to determine.  The emotional part of domestic violence can sometimes go undetected and not seen as abuse at all.  Here are some signs of emotional abuse:

  • Need permission to socialize with your friends
  • Being accused of cheating on him when you leave the house to do errands
  • Partners has control over the money and monitors your spending
  • Does it feel more like you have a dad than a partner?
  • Feeling an obligation to be sexual with your partner
  • Your activities and interests are looked upon as unimportant or trivial
  • You become nervous about being on the phone when he is around
  • He tries to turn the children against you

These are some of the signs to look for when determining if you are a victim of emotional abuse.  It is not always easy for a victim to leave an abuser; they may feel helpless due to financial dependency, denial, belief that it will get better and fear of being alone.  But no one should feel it is okay to be abused.  We have to raise the awareness of family violence and encourage individual businesses and faith communities to join in the effort to “break the cycle” of violence.  We must insure peace and safety within relationships and homes throughout the United St

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