Domestic violence what is it?
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behavior in which one partner in a relationship seeks to gain power, control, or accommodation through threatening, punishing, or abusing the other. While this description is certainly imperfect (the boundaries between abuse, coercion, and unhealthy relationships are often blurred), it provides a solid and useful framework to examine some of the common ways in which domestic violence is expressed in relationships. Abuse can take many forms, both physical and emotional.
Signs of domestic violence
You may be in a normal relationship with your spouse or partner, or you might have known someone who is being physically abused by their partner, but in the absence of clear warning signs, your instinct is likely to downplay the issue and think, “They must just love each other a little too much.” In fact, domestic violence can involve many things, from smacking to stalking to sexual abuse. However, generally speaking, the signs of an abusive relationship are remarkably similar. You’ll be under constant pressure to put your partner’s feelings and needs ahead of your own, whether or not you are explicitly being pressured to do so. And you’ll be expected to have sex on demand and on your schedule, no questions asked. Domestic violence isn’t an individual weakness.
What to do if you suspect someone you know is in an abusive relationship
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 2 million women and 1.3 million men are victims of domestic violence every year in the U.S. Violence perpetrated by a partner is considered to be an “intimate” offense. First, find a reliable safe friend to confide in, who can let you know when you need to get out of the situation. Second, take a break from the relationship. If you know your partner can’t control his anger, avoid the conflict and work on improving your own self-worth and confidence levels. These changes in your own personality will help you feel more comfortable leaving the relationship.
What if you are in an abusive relationship?
Domestic violence can take a number of forms, but it is mostly caused by verbal and physical abuse and power and control. Worrying about how you should handle a volatile relationship is normal. There are always going to be questions about what to do if you are in an abusive relationship. For the purpose of clarity, we are not talking about physical abuse, such as hitting your partner, or even abuse that leaves marks. We are talking about psychological abuse which undermines your self-esteem and threatens to destroy your sense of self. According to a British survey, about 10% of men in a relationship have suffered abuse in the past year, with more than 2 million men suffering abuse in a lifetime. Around 90% of domestic abuse victims are women.
If you’ve been living in a crazy, abusive relationship for a significant amount of time, the problem is likely bigger than you realize. When a person experiences domestic violence, they often lash out against the people they love the most; we see that all the time with wives killing their husbands and husbands killing their wives, even though those weren’t the initial motivations behind the violence. You have a choice to make here: You can put your foot down, refuse to be controlled, and break free of that controlling partner, or you can remain in a relationship where you are a victim of abuse. The two are not mutually exclusive; if you want to be free of domestic violence, then you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.