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Victim Services - What is Domestic Violence?


"Domestic violence” or “family violence” means an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, or a threat that places that member in fear of such harm. Family or household members must:

The Truth About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an escalating pattern of abuse where one partner in an intimate relationship controls the other through force, intimidation, or the threat of violence. Abuse comes in many forms:

Physical   Kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, and any other acts which hurt your body
Sexual   Calling you vulgar names, criticizing your body parts or sensuality, forced or pressured sexual acts, including rape
Emotional   Assaults against your self-esteem
Verbal Name   Calling, threats, put-downs
Psychological   Causing you to feel as if you are "going crazy"
Spiritual   Attacking your spiritual or religious beliefs
Financial   Controlling and manipulating you by threatening your economic status and basic needs
Homophobic   Threatening to "out" you to people who do not know your sexual orientation
Immigration   Using your immigration status and fear of deportation to control you
Destructive Acts   Actual or threatened assault of your property or pets to scare you

People stay with abusive partners for many different reasons. By understanding these reasons, you can explore your options for living a violence-free life and avoid feelings of guilt and isolation.

It is a myth that people don't leave violent relationships. Many leave an average of five to seven times before they are able to leave permanently. You are in greater danger from your partner's abuse when you leave. Only you can decide what is best for you and your children. Whether you decide to remain with your abusive partner or leave, it is important for you to plan for your safety.

Domestic violence is one of the nation's best-kept secrets. Myths and misunderstandings abound. Knowing the facts is an important step toward breaking the cycle of violence.

Fact: Almost four million women are beaten in their homes every year by their male partners. Although the first violent incident may not be severe, once battering begins, it tends to increase in severity and frequency, sometimes leading to permanent injury or death. What may begin as an occasional slap or shove will turn into a push down the stairs, a punch in the face, or a kick in the stomach.
Fact: Battering is not about anger or losing control; it is an intentional choice focused on maintaining power and control in the relationship. Batterers manage not to beat their bosses or terrorize their friends when they are angry.
Fact: The batterer is responsible for the violence – not the victim. People are beaten for breaking an egg yolk while fixing breakfast, for wearing their hair a certain way, for dressing too nicely or not nicely enough, for cooking the wrong meal, or any other number of excuses. These incidents do not warrant or provoke violence. Even when you disagree, you do not deserve to be beaten. People who are battered do not want to be beaten. 
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