What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.
Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, psychological, economic, and/or sexual abuse. Abusers use threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to gain and maintain power over their victims.
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence occurs in same-sex relationships, and men can be victims as well.
What are Some Signs of Domestic Violence?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, domestic violence may include:
- Physical abuse such as slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force.
- Sexual abuse including rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control.
- Emotional abuse such as shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with her or his children.
- Psychological abuse including threats to harm the victims’ family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, isolation, mind games, destruction of victims’ property, or stalking.
- Economic abuse such as controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit.
Several or all of the above forms of violence and abuse may take place.
Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
Signs that you need help
- Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
- Are you ever afraid of your partner?
- Does your partner threaten to hurt you?
- Does your partner control all the money?
- Has your partner ever pushed you or shoved you, thrown things at you, or forced you to have sex?
- Does your partner stalk you or show up uninvited at your job or when you’re out with friends?
If you said yes to one or more of these questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence. You are not alone, and help is available.
The Shade Tree
We are available for intake 24 hours a day,
7 days a week.
“do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you” -
Fear of Leaving
If you are in a domestic violence situation the decision to leave is often a difficult one. There are many obstacles that can stand in the way of a woman trying to leave an abusive relationship that must first be overcome to achieve safety. Talking about some of these factors with a support worker can help to assist you in overcoming these barriers. Some of the reasons it may be difficult to leave may include:
Fear for safety
- Fear of what he will do when he finds out you have left.
- Fear he will carry out a threat to harm or kill you, your children, your pets or others.
- Fear he will carry out his threat to commit suicide if you leave.
- Fear you won’t be able to take care of yourself and the children alone.
Isolation from others
- Fear of being alone or that no-one will understand or believe you.
- Fear of being rejected by family and friends.
- If you are in a same sex relationship, you may fear you will be “outed” or no one will believe you.
Pressures about the children
- You believe children need two parents and don’t want to raise them alone.
- You believe you cannot give the children the same lifestyle they are accustomed to.
- Fear your children will be taken from you by a welfare agency or children’s services.
Promises from your partner
- You believe that things will get better.
- You believe that no one else will love you.
- You believe others will think you are stupid for staying as long as you have.
Pressures from cultural or religious communities
- You want to try to keep the family together and live up to your religious commitment to remain with your partner.
Pressure from family and friends to stay
- You feel ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated and you don’t want anyone to know what is happening.
- You are financially dependent on your partner for shelter, food and other necessities and you don’t know how you would cope alone.
- You fear you may lose your children in a ‘custody’ battle.
- You are worried about going to court and having to tell what has happened.