Some people have a hard time defining what domestic violence is. Many believe that domestic violence is purely physical. They believe that if no one has ever laid a hand on them, it’s not something they can define as domestic violence. The truth is domestic violence comes in many different forms besides physical abuse. It’s important to understand what domestic violence is so you can determine if you are experiencing domestic violence. The United States Office on Violence Against Women (otherwise known as the O.V.W.) has recently released an official definition of domestic violence. They define domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” The keywords here are “power and control”. This means that you could be experiencing domestic violence under many different forms of abuse.
Here are the different forms of abuse that all fall under the category of domestic violence:
As you can see, domestic violence is much more than just physical abuse. The main concern for the abuser is to gain power and control over their partners or spouses. They can use a number of different forms of abuse to attain this power. If you think you’re experiencing domestic violence, remember to be aware of these various acts that all fall under the umbrella of domestic violence.
A common phrase that many victims of domestic violence hear is, “just leave”. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. Those who have experienced domestic violence understand that there are many variables that could be holding you back. However, if your life is being threatened, you need to contact help immediately and devise an exit strategy. Hotlines like 800-799-SAFE can be a helpful resource for victims. It’s also important to have a trustworthy family attorney involved so you can be aware of your rights. If you are experiencing domestic violence, you need to be ready when you have the opportunity to leave.
Here are some tips to remember when making a plan to exit an abusive relationship:
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