Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior where one partner in an intimate relationship chooses to use coercion, controlling and abusive behaviors to establish and maintain power and control over the other person. Tactics can include physical, psychological, sexual, social, and financial abuse. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, separated, or dating. According to the Center of Disease Control, one in three women in the United States will experience Domestic Violence in their lifetime.

Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those seriously affected by this crime. The abuser interferes with the victims’ ability to parent, causing harm to the parent/child relationship, and many are abusive to their own children. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.

Abusive behaviors are not symptoms that someone is angry or out of control. An abuser makes a choice to exert power and control over his or her partner. Please note that the headings below are linked to pages with more detailed information about different forms of abuse.

Abusive behaviors include:

  • Physical Abuse

    Physical abuse often begins with less violent assaults such as pushing. As the abuse continues, however, it becomes increasingly violent. Abusers often target areas of the body that are usually covered with clothing because the injuries are less likely to be visible to others. Acts of physical abuse include:

    • Pushing
    • Restraining
    • Shaking
    • Slapping
    • Biting
    • Punching
    • Kicking
    • Throwing objects at the victim
    • Target hitting
    • Sustained beating
    • Abuse planned to cause the victim to miscarry
    • Using weapons
    • Strangulation
    • Homicide
  • Emotional Abuse

    Emotional abuse is a tool used by those who want to make their partners feel scared, crazy, worthless, or responsible for the abuse. The abuser’s goal is control over the victim. Emotional abuse may include:

    • Making jokes about the victim
    • Insults
    • Criticizing the victim’s competence
    • Ignoring the victim’s feelings
    • Withholding affection as a form of punishment
    • Blaming the victim for all problems
    • Yelling at the victim
    • Humiliating the victim in front of others
    • Accusing the victim of being the abusive partner
    • Threatening to take the children away from the victim
    • Threatening physical violence
    • Threatening suicide to punish the victim
  • Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse is one of the least discussed but most common forms of domestic violence. Sexual abuse includes:

    • Sexual jokes that make the victim uncomfortable
    • Treating women as sex objects
    • Criticizing the victim’s sexuality
    • Using sexual jealousy as a tool of control
    • Uncomfortable or unwanted touch
    • Withholding sex as punishment
    • Demanding sex
    • Flaunting affairs
    • Rape
    • Sex after beatings
    • Forcing the victim to witness or participate in sexual activity with others
    • Sexually assaulting the victim in front of the children
    • Sexual torture
  • Social Abuse

    Social abuse is used to isolate the victim from others in the community. The fewer people the victim is connected with, the more control the abuser has over the victim. Examples of social abuse include:

    • Insisting that the couple spend all time together
    • Discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family
    • Forbidding the victim to see friends or family
    • Monitoring the victim’s mail or phone calls
    • Checking the odometer
    • Restricting access to the car or car keys
    • Telling others the victim is crazy or abusive
  • Financial Abuse

    Abusers often attempt to establish financial control over victims. Victims who are financially dependent on abusers have fewer resources for escape. Financial abuse includes:

    • Making all financial decisions for the household
    • Keeping financial secrets
    • Monitoring the victim’s spending
    • Controlling the victim’s access to cash
    • Controlling the victim’s access to checkbook or credit cards
    • Refusing to let the victim work
    • Forcing the victim to turn over income to the abuser

Community Works provides services to women, men and children who are or have been victims of domestic violence. Services and support are free and confidential. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. To access Victim Services Programs call HelpLine at 541-779-HELP (4357) or 1-855-216-2111. We are here to help 24 hours a day every day of the year.

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