Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence is a systemic pattern of power and control tactics perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
  • Domestic violence tactics can include physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The degree?and frequency?of domestic violence can vary drastically from one situation to the next?and one day to the next.
  • Domestic violence is characterized by one partner?s consistent effort to maintain power and control over another.
  • Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse?nor does the absence of physical abuse mean that the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim-survivor.
  • Examples of abusive tendencies may include:
    • Telling the victim-survivor that they can never do anything right
    • Showing jealousy of the victim-survivor?s family and friends and time spent apart
    • Accusing the victim-survivor of cheating
    • Preventing or discouraging the victim-survivor from seeing friends or family members
    • Embarrassing or shaming the victim-survivor via put-downs
    • Controlling household finances
    • Taking the victim-survivor?s money or other assets (or refusing to give the victim money for expenses)
    • Acting in ways that frighten or terrorize the victim-survivor
    • Controlling who the victim-survivor sees, where they go, or what they do
    • Dictating how the victim-survivor dresses, wears their hair, etc.
    • Stalking the victim-survivor or monitoring the victim-survivor?s every move (in person or also via the internet and/or devices such as GPS tracking or even the victim-survivor?s own cell phone)
    • Preventing the victim-survivor from making their own decisions
    • Telling the victim-survivor that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill, or take away their children
    • Threatening to hurt or kill the victim-survivor?s friends, loved ones, or pets
    • Intimidating the victim-survivor with guns, knives, or other weapons
    • Pressuring the victim-survivor to have sex when they don?t want to, or to do things sexually with which the victim-survivor is not comfortable
    • Forcing sex with others
    • Refusing to use protection when having sex, or sabotaging birth control
    • Pressuring or forcing the victim-survivor to use drugs or alcohol
    • Preventing the victim-survivor from working or attending school
    • Destroying the victim-survivor?s property
  • Contrary to society?s misconceptions, domestic violence does not always end when the victim-survivor escapes the abuser, tries to terminate the relationship, and/or seeks help. In fact, during such times of transition, domestic violence often intensifies because the abuser feels a loss of control over the victim-survivor.
  • There is no typical domestic violence victim-survivor; individuals from all walks of life can and do experience domestic violence.
  • Victim-survivors of domestic violence do not bring the violence upon themselves; the responsibility for abuse lies solely with the abuser.
  • Victim-survivors of domestic violence often face substantial barriers (socio-economic, psychological, physical, and cultural) in leaving their abusers; many victim-survivors make multiple attempts to leave.
  • Victim-survivors of domestic violence may experience an array of emotions and feelings in light of the abuse they have experienced. These could include:
    • Desire for the abuse?but not necessarily the relationship?to end
    • Feelings of isolation
    • Feelings of depression
    • Feelings of helplessness
    • Unawareness of the availability of support services
    • Fear of judgment or stigmatization if they reveal the abuse
    • Denial or minimization of the abuse and tendency to make excuses for the abuser
    • Love for the abuser
    • Withdrawing emotionally
    • Distancing themselves from family or friends
    • Impulsiveness or aggression
    • Sense of financial dependence on the abuser
    • Sense of guilt related to the relationship
    • Feelings of shame
    • Anxiety
    • Suicidal thoughts/actions
    • Abuse of alcohol or drugs
    • Hope that their abuser will change and/or stop the abuse
    • Religious, cultural, or other beliefs that reinforce staying in the relationship
    • Lack of support from friends of family
    • Fear of cultural, community, or societal backlash that may hinder escape or support
    • Feeling that they have nowhere to go?or no means to get away
    • Fear that they will not be able to support themselves after they escape the abuser
    • Have children in common with their abuser and fear for their safety if the victim leaves
    • Have pets or other animals they don?t want to leave
    • Be distrustful of local law enforcement, courts, or other systems if the abuse is revealed
    • Have had unsupportive experiences with friends, family, employers, law enforcement, courts, child protective services, etc. and either believe they won?t get help if they leave or fear retribution if they do (e.g., they fear they will lose custody of their children to the abuser)

KCADV

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