Domestic Violence More Than Just Physical Violence

When you hear the words domestic violence, what comes to mind? Do you immediately picture a large, menacing male physically beating a scared, timid female? While society has long perpetrated this view of domestic violence (and this is indeed one form of domestic violence) the word includes many actions other than physical violence alone. You may also be surprised to learn men are often victims, yet due to stigma are far less likely to report their abusers. Continue reading to learn more about the variety of behaviors that are classified as domestic violence.

The most obvious and apparent form of abuse is that of a physical nature. These actions are typically excessively violent, subjecting a victim to burning, beating, hitting, pulling by the hair, biting, pushing, slicing, or any other form of physical aggression.

Domestic violence can also include violent episodes of a sexual nature. Even if a couple is married, it is still possible for sexual assault or rape to occur. Simply put, sexual violence occurs when a person is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual relations of any kind.

It is also possible for an abuser to deeply wound a victim by emotional abuse. Emotional abuse occurs when the abuser manipulates and destroys relationships between the victim and their family members, swearing at the victim, name calling, wearing the victim down with constant cruel words, and other forms of erosion of the victim’s self-esteem.

Financial abuse is another form of domestic violence in which the abuser maintains control of the victim by taking away their ability to leave. The abuser may shut the victim off from any source of income, stop the victim from holding employment outside the home, and allocate all funds.

It is also possible to be a victim of abuse of a psychological nature. This typically occurs when a victim is threatened or intimidated with fear of physical harm (ie., guns, weapons, fists, or other forms of physical contact) to oneself, another family member, or even a beloved pet. However, it can include threats of destruction to inanimate objects like the victim’s home or car. Furthermore, this form of abuse can occur by attempting to isolate the victim from social connections with family or friends.

Stalking is also considered a form of domestic violence. Specific manifestations occur when the victim experiences incidents of being watched or spied upon, receives harassing messages, phone calls, gifts, or the unwanted presence of the stalker at the victim’s home or place of employment. A sub-tier of stalking includes versions of stalking that occur online known as cyberstalking.  Typically, the victim receives unwanted, repetitive email or instant messages that intimidate or scare the victim.

If you or someone you love is experiencing ANY form of domestic violence, don’t delay contact the authorities immediately and take legal action to protect yourself!