Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse Explained
Domestic violence is an incident or a series of incidents, where a partner, ex-partner, or a family member try to control someone and abuses them psychologically or physically. It also includes sexual violence by a partner. In a large majority of cases, it is women who are the victims of domestic violence. It can happen to anyone irrespective of age, race, gender, or religion. It is also referred to as domestic abuse.
Forms of Domestic Abuse
The National Domestic Helpline have used a power and control wheel to depict the forms of domestic violence. The wheel has power and control at its center, which is the main cause for domestic violence as a partner tries to dominate the other, exert control over the other and use his/her power to influence and coerce the other. The spokes of the wheel include the various forms of domestic abuse:
- Coercion and threats: Threatening to hurt a partner, threatening to leave her, threatening harm to partner, children or self, coercing her to do things against her wishes including sex acts, and coercing her to drop charges of abuse.
- Intimidation: Intimidating and instilling fear in a partner by words, gestures, or by action, physical destruction of property, attacking pets, threatening by displaying weapons.
- Emotional abuse: Creating low self-esteem through words, name-calling, shaming, mental torture, mind games, creating a feeling of guilt, humiliating the partner.
- Isolation: Isolating the partner from the outside world, monitoring her contacts, controlling everything the partner does.
- Using children: Using children to further one’s agenda, make a partner feel guilty about children, threatening to take children away.
- I am denying, blaming: Gaslighting (denial of abuse), shifting responsibility, blaming the partner for everything.
- Economic abuse: Prevent partner from going for work, forcibly taking her money, not allowing access to money or income.
- Male privilege: Using male privilege to abuse a partner like making the partner act like a servant, dominate her, take all decision including for her.
Apart from these instances, domestic violence also includes stalking of an ex-partner, and sexual violence (molestation, rape and sexual acts without consent).
Domestic Abuse Statistics
Domestic violence is one of the most common problems in society today, mainly experienced by women. Every minute 24 persons are the victims of physical or sexual abuse by a partner.
3 in every ten women and 1 in every ten men have experienced some form or the other of domestic violence.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered severe physical abuse by a partner.
Twelve million people in the world every year face domestic violence from a partner.
This data shows that domestic violence is common and can affect anyone. No one needs to tolerate domestic violence and should seek help immediately.
Getting help for Domestic Abuse
Victims of domestic violence can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) for help. The helpline is open 24/7 and has counselors as well as legal experts for help. They can also assist in finding shelters for victims of domestic abuse.
They can also contact the National Centre for Victims of Crime at 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846).
A victim of domestic abuse need not stand for it. In the case of physical abuse, they can call 911 and take the help of law enforcement officials.
One can also talk to a friend or a relative and take their assistance to get succor.
If you know someone who is being subject to domestic abuse or domestic violence, don’t keep quiet. Make sure you help the victim by first taking her away from the abuser and then involving legal authorities to prevent problems.