5 Types of Domestic Violence
Physical violence is one of five types of domestic violence
Physical violence is one type of domestic violence -not the only type as often thought.
Millions of people experience domestic violence in their relationships each year. Although studies suggest women experience slightly higher rates of abuse with their partners, domestic violence affects all relationships-traditional relationships, same-sex relationships, and others.
The U.S. Department of Justice defines 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.”
Types of Domestic Violence
The US DOJ lists five types of domestic violence. Each type of domestic violence creates devastating effects on those involved. The five types of domestic violence:
Physical Violence: The use of physical force against another person. Examples of physical abuse include punching, kicking, choking, biting, restraining, and assault with a weapon such as a knife or gun. Physical violence may or may not result in serious injuries.
Sexual Violence: Violating a person’s bodily integrity through coercing sexual favors, rape, prostitution, or other unwelcomed sexual behavior is classified as sexual violence. Sexual abuse also includes behaviors that limit reproductive rights, such as restriction of the use of birth control pills.
Economic Abuse: Economic abuse occurs when an abuser makes a victim financially dependant on them. This may include forbidding a partner to work a job, forbidding them to get an education, withholding or controlling finances.
Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse damages a person’s self-worth through intentional hurtful acts. Constant criticism, name-calling, humiliating, and mocking are good examples of emotional abuse.
Psychological Abuse: Isolation from friends and family, threats of physical harm or other types of threats, and intimidation are examples of psychological abuse. Partners may also enact psychological abuse by damaging property, hurting/abusing pets, controlling what the victim wears, or other similar instances.
Recognizing Domestic Violence
The types of domestic violence above affect people differently. Each abuser customizes his abuse to each person. Many warning signs suggest that your relationship may be abusive. Those signs include:
- Controls the things that you do
- Forces you to perform sexual acts/favors that make you uncomfortable
- Hurts your feelings
- Shames you
- Scares you
- Physically hurts you
- Threatens to physically hurt you
- Physically harms kids or pets
- Discourages outside relationships
- Is excessively jealous
- Goes into a rage
- You feel like you can do nothing right
Family and friends often identify abuse before the victim. Changes in behavior often indicate a problem. Changes that friends and family may notice include:
Alcohol/Drug Use: Victims turn to alcohol and/or drugs as a means to escape the reality of the abuse they experience. It provides them with a comforting coping mechanism.
Inconsistency: Victims often make excuses for the behavior of an abusive partner. They give off causes for injuries and make light of the severity of the situation.
Injuries: Bruises, cuts, scraps, and other types of injury are the most common signs of domestic violence family and friends notice.
Domestic Violence Help
A common misconception is that domestic violence victims like the abuse or they would leave. Victims stay in abusive relationships for assorted reasons, but never because they enjoy the abuse. Walking away from a violent relationship is a complex process. Victims must come to terms with the fact they've experienced abuse, financially secure themselves, and take other steps to walk out of an abusive relationship. Some victims are unsure where to turn for help.
Turn to friends and family but do not forget the value of community support. It may feel like you are alone in your situation, but so many others know exactly what you are dealing with.
The following resources for domestic violence victims are among the many available that can help victims and survivors of domestic violence.
National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233): Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Hotline is a resource for safety information and can connect callers with information about shelters and protection advocates in the area.
VINELink: Available in 47 states, VINELink allows victims to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender has a change in custody status, such as release, transfer, or an escape.
Women’s Law: The Women's Law website has legal information and resources for victims, plus advice on how to leave an abusive situation.
Put You First
If you are in an abusive relationship, trying to decide to leave can cause confusion, uncertainty, and fear. One moment, you may w Remember, ant to get away and the next, you may feel like you can work things out. You may feel sorry for the abuser or have weak moments.
Do not trap yourself by the confusion. Put yourself first, do not stick around because you have weak moments or the abuser makes you feel sorry. That's what they've become good at doing. It's manipulation and you deserve better. Help is out there when you're ready.