What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is about one person getting and keeping power and control over another person in an intimate relationship.

It is a pattern of behavior in which one intimate partner uses physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation and emotional, sexual or economic abuse to control and change the behavior of the other partner.

The abusive person might be your current or former spouse, live-in lover or dating partner. To better understand all of the ways that an abuser can use power and control over a victim, you can check out what is called the “Power and Control Wheel.”

Domestic violence happens to people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and religions. It occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. A person’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation does not determine whether s/he can be a victim of domestic violence or an abuser. Economic or professional status does not affect whether someone can commit domestic violence or be the victim of domestic violence – abusers and victims can be laborers or college professors, judges or janitors, doctors or orderlies, teachers, truck drivers, homemakers or store clerks. Domestic violence occurs in the poorest neighborhoods, the fanciest mansions and white-picket-fence neighborhoods.

[source: Womens Law]

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