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What is Domestic Violence?

Updated: Dec 2, 2022


BRIGHTHOUSE - 620-665-3630 HOTLINE - 620-663-2522

About Domestic Violence Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and coercive behavior used to gain dominance, power, and control over an intimate partner. It includes the use of illegal and legal behaviors and tactics that undermine the victim’s sense of self, free will, and safety. Battering behavior can impact other family members and can be used in other family relationships. Domestic Violence and be physical, emotional, sexual and psychological. Domestic violence crosses all class, race, lifestyle, religious lines and gender. Most victims of domestic violence are women, and most perpetrators of domestic violence are men. Approximately 1 in 3 women in the U.S. have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. The number of men experiencing domestic violence is about 1 in 4. Many academic leaders have identified domestic violence as a major criminal justice, health care, and social issue.

Signs of Domestic Violence Perpetrators of domestic violence (batterers) use a combination of the following tactics to gain and maintain dominance, power, and control over the victim. Batterers make a choice to use control tactics and violence, including when the violence occurs and the amount of injury inflicted by their acts. Batterers bear sole responsibility for their actions.

  • Physical violence: Pushing; grabbing; shoving; restraining; kicking; spitting; biting; pulling hair; pinching; hitting; punching; slapping; strangling (choking); cutting; stabbing

  • Sexual violence: Unwanted touching or fondling; forced sexual contact; rape; accusing you of being unfaithful; humiliating or objectifying your body; restricting access to reproductive health care; forcing you to engage in unwanted sex acts; threatening to have sex with someone else; coercing you into having sex

  • Coercion and threats: Making or carrying out threats to do something to hurt you; threatening to leave, to commit suicide, to report you to welfare, to have you deported or report to immigration authorities; making you drop charges or not testify; making you do illegal things

  • Intimidation: Making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; destroying your property; abusing pets; displaying weapons

  • Emotional abuse: Putting you down; name calling; making you think you are crazy; playing mind games; humiliation; making you feel bad about yourself; making you feel guilty

  • Isolation: Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read, where you go; limiting your outside involvement; using jealousy to justify actions; withholding important documents (immigration paperwork, birth certificates, social securitycards)

  • Using children: Making you feel guilty about the children; using the children to relay messages; using visitation to harass you; threatening to take the children away, to fight for custody, to harm the children; undermining your parenting; teaching the children to treat you with disrespect

  • Economic abuse: Preventing you from getting or keeping a job; making you ask for money; giving you an allowance; taking your money; not letting you know about or have access to family income

  • Using privilege/entitlement: Treating you like a servant; making all the big decisions; making all the rules; adhering to strict gender roles and being the one to define men’s and women’s roles

  • Minimizing, denying, blaming: Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn’t happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior; saying you caused the abuse; claiming to be the “real” victim


BRIGHTHOUSE - 620-665-3630 HOTLINE - 620-663-2522


BRIGHTHOUSE - 620-665-3630 HOTLINE - 620-663-2522

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