What is Domestic Violence?
Impact of Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence has become a nationwide epidemic, and the statistics we face are astounding:
- 1 in 4 women will know domestic violence in her lifetime
- 1 in 3 teenage girls will be physically assaulted by a boyfriend
- Domestic violence is the leading predictor of child abuse
- 50% of girls growing up in an abusive home will go on to be victims of abuse themselves
The Dallas area is certainly not immune to this epidemic. The Dallas Police Department receives 20,000 calls regarding domestic violence each year yet, there are fewer than 150 safe shelter beds available each night. This is an equal opportunity epidemic, plaguing homes in all segments of the Metroplex-–it knows no racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, or educational boundaries.
While these statistics are startling, domestic violence is one public health epidemic that is completely preventable. We know that if violence can be learned, it can be unlearned. Women and children faced with this unspeakable violence need a safe haven to heal from the abuse they have experienced and time to learn that hands are not for hitting and words are not for hurting.
Recognizing Domestic Violence
Domestic violence occurs when one person in an intimate relationship exercises power and control over the other through a pattern of intentional behaviors, including psychological, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. There is no way to define a “typical” victim of domestic violence-–it can affect anyone from any socioeconomic, demographic, geographic, or educational background. The greatest risk factor for victimization is simply being a woman.
While most people are able to recognize an abusive relationship when it involves physical violence, relationships involving psychological or emotional abuse are more subtle, but no less destructive. If allowed to continue, these behaviors can escalate to include more physically dangerous abuse over time. It is important to recognize key characteristics of domestic violence so that abuse can be stopped before it becomes life threatening.
The progression of violence is outlined below, and includes repeated use of one or more of the following behaviors.
| Verbal Abuse:
- Put downs
- Use of profanity
- Unfounded accusations
- Cruel and hurtful remarks
- Degrading the victim in public
- Diminishing accomplishments
- Flying into rages
- Controlling finances or employment
- Lack of trust/Suspicion
- Following or stalking the victim
- Threats of suicide
- Threats of taking away children
- Threats of physical violence
- Threats of murder
- Minimizes or denies behavior, explosive or
- Holding the victim down against their will
- Throwing or breaking objects
- Using a weapon
- Forcing unwanted sexual acts
- Use of weapons during sex
- Forced sex involving multiple partners
- Inflicts pain during sex