What is Domestic Violence?

what is domestic violence?


  1. Physical – includes pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting with fists, kicking, chocking, grabbing pinching, pulling hair, jumping on, and/or threatening with weapons.
  2. Sexual – includes coercing partner into sexual acts, forcing partner into sexual acts, or the use of objects without the partner’s consent.
  3. Psychological/Emotional – includes brainwashing, control of the partner’s freedom to come and go.
  4. Destruction – of person, property or pets. This includes threatened destruction.


Domestic violence is used for one purpose: to gain and maintain power and control over the victim. In addition to physical violence, abusers use the following tactics, among others, to exert power over their partners:


  • Dominance – Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, a child, or a possession.
  • Humiliation – An abuser will do everything to make you feel bad about yourself, or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you’re worthless and that no one else will want you, you’re less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode yours self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
  • Isolation – In order to increase your dependence, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. You may be kept from seeing family or friends, or possibly prevented from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
  • ThreatsAbusers commonly use threats to keep their victims from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, or other family members, or even pets. Other threats might be of suicide, homicide, filing false charges against you, or reporting you to child protective services.
  • Intimidation – Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don’t obey, there will be violent consequences.
  • Denial and blame – Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, on intoxication, and on the victims of the abuse. Your abuser may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. Commonly, the responsibility will be shifted onto you: Somehow, the abuse and violence is your fault. It isn’t. The only one at fault is the abuser.

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