Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner or an ex-partner. It occurs in both dating and long-term relationships. Tactics may include physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse, isolation, coercion, and intimidation. Abuse impacts every aspect of a relationship and of a survivor’s life including mental and physical health, friend and family relationships, parenting, and financial status. It has long-lasting effects on the family and society as a whole.
Take a look at the power and control wheel for a better understanding of some of the abusive tactics used to gain power and control.
Domestic Violence: Cause and Effect
- Abuse is a learned behavior and a choice, rooted in an abuser’s beliefs. Abusers frequently see their behavior as justified and/or harmless.
- Over time, abusers often escalate their tactics. An abuser who uses verbal and emotional abuse will frequently begin to use intimidation, coercion, and sometimes physical and/or sexual violence at some point in the relationship.
- Abusers frequently continue to be abusive or can escalate their tactics after a victim attempts to end the relationship.
- Domestic Violence is not caused by substance abuse, lack of relationship skills, or mental health issues, but these issues are often present in Domestic Violence situations.
Domestic Violence Doesn’t Discriminate
Domestic violence occurs at similar rates in same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
In heterosexual relationships, most perpetrators of domestic violence are men abusing female partners. Abusers and survivors of domestic violence may be of any age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture, class, economic status, ability, education or any other group of people.
Check out What is Abuse for more information.