What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another person, typically an intimate partner, possibly including their children.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone, possibly including children.

Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work. Most often, the victims are convinced the problem is their fault.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.

Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect upon family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.

With the aging of our population in America, another form of Domestic Violence which is increasing significantly is Elder Abuse. While many of the typical forms of abuse occur in Elder Abuse, there are several Elder specific abuses such as the stealing of medications by caregivers or family, economic abuse such as encouraging victims to “sign these papers” without their understanding or approval and one of the more prevalent is isolation or abandonment by simply being ignored, not paid attention to or not visited in a care facility. If you are a victim of Elder Abuse, or suspect you know of someone whom you think might be a victim, call us. We can help you or the elder person you believe is being abused.

Domestic violence is a major public-health problem in that it affects millions of people and often results in physical and emotional injuries and even deaths. Media reporting of domestic violence demonstrates that accomplished and successful individuals can fall victim to this crime. The statistics about those who are affected by Domestic Violence are staggering; domestic abuse affects 3%-5% of current adult relationships in theUnited States, including more than 2 million women. Despite the myth that violence against men does not occur, 800,000 men are victims of intimate partner abuse. Nearly one-third of women can expect to be the victim of intimate partner violence sometime in their lifetime. As of 2000, about 8 million incidents of domestic violence occurred in one year in theUnited States, and 20.2% of women visiting family practice clinics have been found to be experiencing intimate partner violence. About 1,300 deaths were attributed to domestic abuse as of 2003. You are not alone!

Teen intimate partner abuse takes place at an alarming rate. Facts about domestic violence in this group include that as many as 12% of youth in grades 7 through 12 have been victims of physical dating violence, and 20% of youth have suffered from psychological dating violence. This abuse puts victims in danger of practicing risky sexual behavior, unhealthy eating, drug use, suicidal behaviors,  as well as physical injury and death. These victims are also more likely to become sufferers of intimate partner violence as adults.

Domestic violence, spousal abuse, partner violence, elder abuse; whatever label is used, it is a horrific and devastating act. Domestic violence affects the victim, their children, the entire family, their workplace and their community. If you are the victim, we can help you! If you suspect someone you know is a victim, we can help! Call us! Victim confidentiality is of utmost concern. Remember, domestic violence is a crime!

Camden House is the State Certified Domestic Violence program in Camden and Charlton counties in Southeast Georgia, designed to assist domestic violence victims and their children. Victim confidentiality is a priority and of utmost concern.  We are available 24/7. Our phone number is 912 882 7858.


Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline,NationalCenterfor Victims of Crime, WomensLaw.org. and MedicineNet.com