Written By Michele Wheat
Domestic violence is an epidemic that affects individuals in all communities, regardless of age, gender, religion, race, economic status, orientation, or nationality. Domestic abuse is defined as the physical assault, willful intimidation, or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of control and power perpetrated against one intimate partner by another. The severity and frequency of domestic violence varies greatly and can include emotional abuse, psychological, physical, or sexual violence. Domestic violence can result in injuries, trauma, and in the most severe instances, even death.
Dynamics of Domestic Violence
There is not a typical victim of domestic violence, with victims coming from all age groups, communities, and backgrounds. Domestic violence victims, contrary to popular belief, do not always lack self esteem, nor do they bring violence upon themselves. Violence often occurs in relationships when one person feels entitled to exert their control and power over their partner, choosing violence to do so. All relationships are different but the commonality in all abusive relationships is the tactics used by abusers to control and maintain power over their victims. Victims of domestic violence are often affected in all aspects of life. Even people who manage to escape their abusers often live with permanent mental and sometimes physical reminders of their abuse.
Signs of an Abuser
Anyone can be an abuser regardless of gender, age, and other factors. Studies have found that the majority of abusers are only violent with their intimate partners and many abusers do not have criminal records. There are, however, common characteristics shared by abusers. These include the following,
- Sees their victim as property and objectifies them.
- Feels powerless and has low self esteem, and often has internal feelings of inadequacy.
- Minimizes the severity of the violence or denies its existence altogether.
- Externalizes the causes of their violent behavior.
In addition to the above characteristics, there are many warning signs, or red flags that can be indicative of an abusive person. These include possessiveness, jealousy, bad temper, unpredictability, victim blaming, and verbal abuse, among other signs.
Why Do Victims Stay With Their Abusers?
Abusive people often go to extremes to keep their victims from leaving. Actually, the most dangerous time for a victim is when they are leaving their abuser. Victims of domestic violence have extremely complex reasons for staying with their abusers. In many cases, victims are afraid that threats of harm will be followed through on. Victims often feel that they cannot get away from their abusers safely and unfortunately do not always have supportive family and friends to help them. In some areas of the world, victims of domestic violence are treated poorly and blamed for their abuse, meaning it is not always possible to escape. There are, however, many organizations that can help those looking to escape abusive relationships.
Domestic Violence Statistics
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a significant other.
- In the United States alone, approximately 20 people per minute are abused physically by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
- 19% of domestic violence incidents involve a weapon.
- On average, more than 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines each day.
- Domestic violence accounts for approximately 15% of all violent crimes.
- In domestic violence in which a gun is present, the risk of homicide increases by 500%.
Domestic Violence Awareness
October is considered domestic violence awareness month and there are many organizations that work to raise awareness of domestic abuse. From wristbands, to hair extensions, there are many products sold meant to raise domestic violence awareness with some of the proceeds going to organizations such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who work to create a culture in which domestic violence is not tolerated.
Domestic Violence Resources