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Domestic Violence (cont.)

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a relationship between intimate partners in which one individual seeks to assert power and control over the other. Recently, more same-sex partners and male victims of violence perpetrated by women are reporting their victimization. The abuser may use many different types of abuse to assert this power, and the overall framework in which the abuse occurs may follow a pattern called the cycle of violence.

  • Cycle of violence: Violent events may occur in a variety of patterns-the victim may experience ongoing, nonstop abuse, or the abuse may stop and start. One pattern of abuse often seen in a violent relationship begins with a tension-building phase, followed by the actual abusive act, and then a calm, making-up phase often called the honeymoon phase.
    • The tension-building phase includes increasing anger on the part of the abuser coupled with attempts by the person being abused to avoid violence. On the other hand, the victim may also attempt to bring on the violence to "get it over with."
    • The episode of acute abuse may include various forms of abuse and may occur for an indefinite amount of time.
    • The honeymoon phase that follows the abuse often includes both excuses for the abusive episode and expressions of love for the injured party. The abuser may deny the violence or blame his or her actions on their own drunkenness or the behavior or drunkenness of the victim. The abuser may promise that the abuse will never happen again.
  • Types of abuse: Domestic abuse is a broad term and involves physical, psychological, economic, and sexual abuse, as well as attempts to manipulate the victim through the use of his or her children. The abuser may also seek to isolate the victim from other people who may provide assistance.
    • Physical abuse
      • Pinching
      • Tripping
      • Punching
      • Grabbing
      • Beating
      • Pulling hair
      • Slapping
      • Shoving
      • Biting
      • Twisting arms
      • Kicking
      • Using a weapon against you
      • Throwing you down
      • Choking
      • Hitting
      • Pushing
    • Psychological abuse
      • Making or carrying out threats to do something to hurt you emotionally
      • In gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships, threatening to expose ("out") the victim's sexual orientation
      • Threatening to commit suicide
      • Threatening to take away the children
      • Threatening to harm the children
      • Threatening to harm the family of origin (for example, parents and siblings)
      • Threatening to report you to a governmental agency (for example, the Internal Revenue Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service)
      • Threatening to harm pets
      • Injuring or killing pets
    • Emotional abuse
      • Putting you down (for example, commenting about perceived shortcomings, name calling)
      • Making you think you are crazy
      • Making you feel bad about yourself
      • Playing mind games
      • Treating you as if you are a servant
      • Making all the big decisions
    • Isolation
      • Controlling what you do (for example, financially; monitoring activities)
      • Limiting your access to others
      • Controlling your activities outside the home
    • Sexual abuse
      • Making you do sexual things against your will
      • Treating you as if you are a sex object
      • Physically attacking the sexual parts of your body
    • Using children
      • Making you feel guilty about the children
      • Using visitation as a way to harass you
      • Using the children to give messages
    • Economic
      • Preventing you from getting or keeping a job
      • Taking your money
      • Making you ask for money
      • Giving you an allowance
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2014

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