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. Domestic violence can take many forms, but involves using intimidation and threats or violent behaviors to gain power and control over another person. Usually, the abusive person is a male, and women are often the victims; however, domestic violence occurs against males. Child abuse, elder abuse, and sibling abuse are also considered domestic violence.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the following facts about domestic violence and women:
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, abuse often begins with verbal behaviors such as name-calling, threats, and hitting or throwing objects. It can become worse, including pushing, slapping, and holding against the victim's will. Further battering may include punching, hitting, and kicking and may escalate to life-threatening behaviors such as choking, breaking of bones, or use of weapons.
The following are forms of domestic violence and battering:
First, you must recognize that battering or abuse is occurring. Because verbal and emotional abuse often precede physical violence, you should be aware of warning signs that include extreme jealousy, possessiveness, a bad temper, unpredictability, cruelty to animals, and verbal abusiveness.
Contact your local battered women's shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. They can provide you with helpful information and advice.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence urges women in abusive relationships to create a safety plan. The following plan may help you in difficult situations:
Remember that help is available and that you have the right to live without fear and violence. Without help, abuse will continue and place you at risk for serious harm.