- Domestic violence is not simply two people who physically hurt one another because they cannot control their tempers during an argument. Certainly, violence in this form is devastating and should be stopped. But, the core issue of domestic violence is much more insidious.
- Battering or abuse is a pattern of behavior that seeks to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. Batterers believe they are entitled to control their victims. They believe that threats and violence are acceptable and will produce the desired results. Therefore, domestic violence is purposeful and instrumental behavior.
- The perpetrator’s pattern of abusive acts is used to gain compliance from or control over the victim. It is directed at restricting independent thought and action so that the victim will become devoted to fulfilling the needs of the perpetrator. The pattern is not impulsive or ’out of control’ behavior. Tactics that work to control the victim are selectively chosen by the perpetrator. This achievement is unfulfilling however, because the perpetrator can never get enough control to make him/her feel comfortable. It is impossible, despite the victim’s attempts to comply.
Types of Abuse
Physical: spitting, scratching, biting, grabbing, shaking, shoving, pushing, restraining, twisting, throwing, slapping, punching, choking/strangling, burning, using weapons
Sexual: coerced sex by manipulation or threat of physical force, violent sex, a kind of sex victim does not want, sex at a time victim does not want it, forcing to watch pornography
Psychological/Emotional: threats through words (if I can’t have you no one will, if you do you’ll be sorry etc), actions (stalking, brandishing weapons, standing over victim in a threatening manner, suicide attempts), intimidation (yelling and screaming in victims face, reckless driving while victim or children in the car) criticize the victim, threatens children or pets, calls victim names, calls victim crazy, etc.
Economic: controlling victim’s access to the family’s resources such as time, transportation food, clothing, shelter, money, not allowing the victim to work, not listing the victim as an owner on a home, cars, insurance policy etc. , ruining the victim’s credit
Legal: filing for protection orders, instituting legal procedures victims cannot afford to fight, threatening to have victim declared incompetent, falsely reporting victim to law enforcement, threatening deportation
Many reasons for staying in the relationship may be present, including:
Fear what the abuser will do if he/she leaves:
The abuser may:
- Inflict more abuse or more severe abuse may occur.
- Carry out threats to kill the victim.
- Destroy victim’s belongings in the home.
- Affect victim’s job or reputation at work, church, etc.
- Have victim arrested or charged with a crime, such as drug use or child abuse.
- Harm children, pets, family or friends.
- Not allow the victim to see children or grandchildren.
- Kill the victim or self.
- The victim may have:
- No money on hand for rent or deposits for a new home.
- No income.
- No safe place to go.
- Few people to lend solid emotional support.
- No transportation.
- Few or unsafe housing choices.
- Physical inability to leave.
- The victim may:
- Feel there are no friends or family to turn to.
- Be ashamed or embarrassed to turn to friends or family for help.
- Be afraid of being alone and without a partner.
- Fear that no one will believe him/her.
- The victim may stay due to
- Feeling responsible for the abusive partner’s feelings, expectations, image, etc.
- Feeling love for the batterer - knowing his/her good, positive, or non-abusive side may give the victim hope that change is near.
- Religious or social beliefs that divorce is wrong.
- Religious or social beliefs that children should have two parents.
- Religious or social belief that women must obey and support men.
- Blaming him/herself for the problems.