WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control). Some abusers are able to exert complete control over your every action without ever using violence or only using subtle threats of violence. All types of abuse are devastating.

Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.

Abusive partners make it very difficult for you to escape relationships. It is important for your to know that the abuse is not your fault and that you are not alone. Help is available, call us today.

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Male Victims

Men can be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.

According to data collected from 2003 to 2012, 82 percent of domestic, dating, and sexual violence was committed against women, and 18 percent against men. A 2012 study found that about 4 in 5 victims of domestic, dating, and sexual violence between 1994 and 2010 were women.

Pervasive stereotypes that men are always the abuser and women are always the victim discriminates against survivors who are men and discourages them from coming forward with their stories. Survivors of domestic violence who are men are less likely to seek help or report abuse. Many are unaware of services for men, and there is a common misconception that domestic violence programs only serve women.

When we talk about domestic violence, we’re not talking about men versus women or women versus men. We’re talking about violence versus peace and control versus respect. Domestic violence affects us all, and all of us – women, children, and men – must be part of the solution.

LGBTQ Victims

LGBTQ people can be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.

At some point in their lives, 43.8% lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women.

Twenty-six percent of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, in comparison to 29% of heterosexual men.

A 2016 report found that more than half (54%) of transgender individuals have experienced intimate partner violence. A 2015 study found that 22% of transgender respondents had been harassed by law enforcement, 6% were physically assaulted, and 46% felt uncomfortable seeking police assistance.

Warning Signs

There is no way to spot an abuser in a crowd, but most abusers share some common characteristics. Some of the subtle warning signs include:

  • They insist on moving quickly into a relationship.

  • They can be very charming and may seem “too good to be true.”

  • They insist that you stop participating in your preferred leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.

  • They are extremely jealous or controlling.

  • They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong.

  • They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs.

  • Their words and actions don’t match.

It’s important to remember that domestic violence is first and foremost a pattern of power and control. Any one of these behaviors may not be indicative of abuse on its own, until it is considered as part of a pattern of behavior.

Why don't they leave?

The deck is stacked against survivors as they navigate safety:

  • Abusive partners work very hard to keep victims trapped in the relationship. They may try to isolate the victim from friends and family, thereby reducing the people and places where the survivor can go for support. Through various tactics of financial abuse, abusive partners create financial barriers to safety.

  • There is a real fear of death or more abuse if they leave. In fact, a victim’s risk of getting killed greatly increases when they are in the process of leaving or have just left. On average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day.

  • Through “gaslighting,” abusive partners cause victims to feel like they are responsible for the abuse. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that abusers use to confuse and shift blame onto the victim. This often causes the victim to doubt their sanity and feel like they are responsible for the abuse and therefore able to stop it.

  • Abuse takes an emotional and physical toll over time, which can translate to additional health issues that make leaving more difficult.

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