Domestic violence is, unfortunately, a common occurrence all over the world, with an estimated 10 million people in the US alone, being affected on an annual basis. Knowing how to identify the types of domestic violence can help one to know when a particular behavior needs to be addressed.
What is Domestic Violence
Though many people may think that domestic violence is primarily focused on physical abuse and injury, there is more to be taken into consideration. Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.
Domestic violence may occur in multiple forms such as an attempted assault or threats of impending physical harm. It can also take the form of sexual assault, as well as psychological abuse involved in stalking.
The Most Common Types of Domestic Violence
Apart from physical harm and injury, an individual who is categorized as a domestic abuser may use various types of abuse to exert control over their victims.
Victims of domestic violence can experience feelings of helplessness, low self-esteem, as well as self-doubt. Understanding the different types of domestic abuse can help victims identify when steps need to be taken to remove themselves from a toxic situation.
Common types of domestic abuse include:
- Verbal abuse
Physical abuse is seen as the most identifiable form of domestic abuse and involves the use or threat of use of physical force against the victim, often resulting in injury. This physical harm can include:
- Forcibly moving a person against their will.
Other forms of physical abuse can include:
- Denying an individual their physical needs such as sleep or food.
- Refusing to release necessities such as medication for example.
- Locking an individual out of the house.
- Denying an individual help when they are sick or injured.
Emotional abuse can have devastating and long-lasting effects on a victim. This form of domestic violence targets the emotional and psychological health of a person. Destruction of the victim’s self-worth is brought about by persistent abusive actions such as:
- Distorting reality through statements or actions to confuse the victim, otherwise known as gaslighting.
This type of domestic violence can be difficult to understand and even notice, as some victims believe that it’s normal behavior, which is not the case. Unfortunately, when an individual is in an unhealthy relationship, emotional abuse can seem quite common. This makes it vital for victims to be able to identify the signs of domestic violence.
When it comes to legal action, a case of emotional abuse needs to be of a consistent and severe nature to be taken to court.
Events that include sexual assault, rape, and unwanted sexual contact all form part of the category of sexual abuse. It can also include situations where an individual uses alcohol or drugs to persuade an intimate partner into sexual activity. Victims of sexual abuse may come across instances where they are subjected to unwanted attention, improper physical contact, and various forms of degrading behaviors.
This form of domestic abuse also takes place in relationships and marriages, including the following behavior:
- Insisting on or threatening one’s partner into unwanted sexual contact.
- Making one’s partner feel guilty about not wanting to participate in any form of sexual activity.
- Forcing or threatening one’s partner into particular sexual behaviors.
- Forcing one’s partner to watch pornography.
- Forcing sex when one is unable to say no. This can take place when an individual is asleep or intoxicated.
Financial abuse includes a partner exerting control over the economic resources in the relationship such as money, to oppress their victim. This can be done by:
- Limiting and denying the victim from being able to access financial funds.
- Keeping the victim on an allowance.
- Denying one’s partner any say in how finances are handled or dispersed.
In the case of financial abuse, the abuser may even go as far as take away the victim’s ability to independently earn money. This can be done by stopping their continuation at work, or creating a scene at the victim’s place of work, leading to the loss of their job. Some abusers may even deny their victim access to transportation to be able to get to work.
Psychological abuse includes intimidation, threats, or fear-causing behavior. Important to note is that this type of abusive behavior needs to be persistent and significant, as a one-time event may not be seen as enough to bring a domestic violence action to court.
There is a wide variety of behaviors that fall into the category of psychological abuse, such as the following:
- Preventing the victim from interacting with others unless they have permission from the abuser.
- Threatening the victim consistently with violence.
- Threatening or causing harm towards pets or personal property.
Verbal abuse is a type of domestic violence that many are familiar with, but sadly don’t always see as a form of abuse. If one believes that they may be a victim of or witness to verbal abuse, these are the signs to look out for:
- Derogatory comments
- Insulting and disrespectful behavior
- Ridiculing someone
- Insulting the victim’s appearance, achievements, and personal beliefs.
- Cutting off an individual when they are speaking to force them to be silent.
Stalking as a form of Domestic Violence
Stalking can be defined as the persistent and unwanted pursuit of another person. It is a form of domestic abuse that is majorly faced by women, with 4 out of 5 cases of this act being against women. This type of pursuit will generally lead the individual on the receiving end to fear physical harm or death to themselves and family members.
Stalking can occur during or after a relationship has ended and includes terrorizing behavior such as:
- Watching the victim from a distance.
- Breaking into the victim’s home.
- Reading their mail.
- Following victims through daily activities.
- Violating a restraining order that prohibits the individual to be near the victim.
Stalking can be an incredibly harmful form of domestic abuse causing the victim sleeping difficulties, intense feelings of stress and anxiety, depression, anger, eating disorders, and excessive feelings of vulnerability.
We Fight for The Rights of Domestic Violence Victims
Being able to identify the different types of domestic violence can help you to know when there is a problem and what your rights are.