Domestic Violence: Definition
Domestic violence is the behavior used by one person in a relationship to control the other. This form of abuse occurs to both married and unmarried couples. It also occurs to individuals outside the relationship, such as the children. It is not limited to physical abuse. Although emotional instability could stem from the physical beatings, emotional abuse alone counts as domestic violence. Now recognized as an anti-social illness, it can be found in all kinds or relationships- heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together, separated or dating.
Examples of abuse include:
- name-calling or put-downs
- keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
- withholding money
- stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
- actual or threatened physical harm
- sexual assault
Domestic violence can be criminal. It being the leading cause of injury to women aged 15 and above, this sort of violence can result to one’s death. Domestic violence includes physical assault, sexual abuse and stalking. Hitting, pushing and shoving are some examples of physical assaults. Sexual abuse is defined as unwanted or forced sexual activity. Under the legal system, forcing one’s wife to any sexual activity is considered as marital rape. Stalking is an invasion of privacy, of one’s personal space. Being pursued stealthily puts you in a vulnerable state, open to the pursuer’s erratic behavior. Therefore, stalking is a crime. It is deterrent to the whole being of the victim. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuses are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse that can lead to criminal violence.
Like evil itself, the violence takes many forms. It can happen all the time or once in a while. An important step to help yourself or someone you know in preventing or stopping violence is by recognizing the warning signs listed on the “Violence Wheel.” The Violence Wheel is an informative guide in determining whether or not you are being abused. Sure, there are alarm bells sounding off when you are being mistreated. However, fear or blind love causes you to ignore them. Why is it important to know the warning signs? Awareness of the signs is deemed important because it helps you to “diagnose” the current state of your relationship. Sometimes, women think it is normal for men to lose control and hurt them physically and verbally. By knowing the signs, you are able to determine where to draw the line and to prevent further abuse. If you are already being abused, it will help you deepen your resolve to stop the abuse. Acknowledging the fact that you are being abused is the first active step towards freedom.
ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! It is difficult to admit to yourself that you are a victim, that you have been victimized. It hurts your body, your pride, your ego. Being a victim should not be downplayed. You can only be a victim if you do not speak up and fight for your rights. Victims of domestic violence can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Both men and women can be abused though most reported victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Most children cannot handle the situation better than you do. Even if your child is not physically harmed, witnessing a parent assault the other causes suffering. Raising a child in a violent environment affects their emotional and social behavior. They may even adapt the violent behavior, lead to believe that it is a normal and rational concept.
If you are in an abusive relationship or know someone who is being abused, REMEMBER that:
1. You are not alone.
2. It is not your fault.
3. Help is available and within your reach.
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