What is Domestic Violence?
Definition & Dynamics
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control of one person over another in
an intimate relationship. In short, domestic violence is about power and control.
Domestic violence affects the totality of a woman’s life.
4 types of abuse:
Abuse falls into 4 categories and takes many forms. Here are a few examples:
- Physical – hitting; shoving; choking; burning; punching - and the ultimate which is murder.
- Emotional - isolation; putting her down; blaming her for everything; calling her names; making her feel like she is crazy; threatening her.
- Financial - making her work; not letting her work; harassing her at work; hiding money and assets; using all the resources for himself.
- Sexual - raping her; forcing her into other sexual activity; demeaning her sexually.
Myths and Facts on Domestic Violence
- Myth: Domestic violence only affects certain groups of women.
- Fact: Domestic violence affects women of all racial, social and economic groups.
- Myth: Domestic violence is caused by alcohol, stress, losing control of one's emotions, or poor communication between couples.
- Fact: Domestic violence is when one person uses power and control over another in an intimate relationship context. Factors such as alcohol abuse or stress may be an excuse for the violence, but do not cause domestic violence.
- Myth: Women stay with men who are abusive because they have low self-esteem; because they were raised in an abusive home; because they are not educated; or because they enjoy it.
- Fact: Women stay because leaving is dangerous and difficult. Women actively seek support. They do not always get help when they do pursue it. Studies have shown that when the number of services for women have gone up in communities, the number of women who kill their abusers goes down.
- Myth: The violence ends when women leave.
- Fact: Women are more likely to be killed by an abuser while they are leaving or after they have left. Separation violence, stalking and harassment are a real and dangerous part of domestic violence.
Did you know that...
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States - greater than car accidents and muggings combined.
- A woman is battered every 15 seconds in the United States.
- Between 85%-95% of domestic violence victims are women.
- The health related costs of domestic violence exceed $5.8 billion each year.
- Approximately 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse in a dating relationship.
- On average 3 to 4 women are killed everyday by their husbands or partners.
2012 CVAN Stats
With the help of literally thousands in our community, in 2012 CVAN
- Answered 1,798 calls on our 24-hour hotline.
- Provided 3,186 nights of shelter and served 7,136 meals.
- Went to court with 146 battered women.
- Reached 1,598 people through community speaking engagements, including 811 teens.
- Provided 1,666 individual peer advocacy/counseling sessions.
- Served 113 women and children through our Holiday Program.
- Overall, in 2012 CVAN provided safety, shelter and support to 1,343 battered women and their children through our many services. Click Services to learn more about what we provide with our community’s generosity.
Power & Control Wheel
Physical and sexual assaults, or threats to commit them, are the most apparent forms of domestic violence and are usually
the actions that allow others to become aware of the problem. However, regular use of other abusive behaviors by the
batterer, when reinforced by one or more acts of physical violence, make up a larger system of abuse. Although physical assaults
may occur only once or occasionally, they instill threat of future violent attacks and allow the abuser to take control of
the woman’s life and circumstances.
The Power & Control diagram is a particularly helpful tool in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors,
which are used by a batterer to establish and maintain control over his partner. Very often, one or more violent
incidents are accompanied by an array of these other types of abuse. They are less easily identified, yet firmly establish a pattern
of intimidation and control in the relationship.
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Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
Click here to view the video.