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Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partner.
Domestic violence is:
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Physical abuse includes spitting, scratching, biting, grabbing, shaking, shoving, pushing, restraining, throwing, twisting, slapping (open or closed hand), punching, choking, burning, and using weapons (household objects, knives, guns) against the victim. Some assaults result in physical injury and some do not. Sometimes a seemingly less serious type of physical abuse (for example a shove or push) can result in the most serious injury. The perpetrator may push the victim against a couch, a wall, or down a flight of stairs, out of a moving car – all resulting in various degrees of trauma.
Emotional abuse is abuse that is intended to hurt or destroy another’s feelings and emotional well being. Emotional abuse is often referred to as verbal abuse. This type of abuse includes name calling, put downs, ridicule, belittling someone, and constant criticism. Another form of emotional abuse is referred to as psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is the constant intimidation and use of harassment to control someone’s thinking or behavior. There are often mind games and ‘crazy-making’ behaviors included as psychological abuse. The batterer will use emotional and psychological abuse as a means of control over the victim. When the batterer feels that this means of abuse is no longer effective he will often turn to physical abuse as a threat to re-enforce the control the emotional abuse has.
Like physical abuse, sexual battering includes a wide range of behaviors from pressured sex when the victim does not want sex, to coerced sex by manipulation or threat of physical force, or violent sex. Victims may be coerced or forced into a kind of sex they do not want (for example sex with third parties, physically painful sex, sexual activity they find offensive) or at a time when they do not want it (for example when they are exhausted, in front of children, after a physical assault, when they are asleep, when they are not interested).
Sometimes victims will resist and then they are punished, and sometimes they comply in hopes that the abuse will end quickly.
For many battered women this sexual violation is profound and may be difficult to discuss. Some battered women may be unsure whether this sexual abuse is really abuse, while for others it is clearly the ultimate betrayal.
How can I help a friend or a family member?
Do you know someone who is being abused by a boyfriend or partner in a relationship? Here are some ideas on how to provide support to a friend or family member.
You will most likely become frustrated unless you understand the dynamics of domestic violence. This website gives helpful information about the cycle of violence, as well as examples of different types of abuse.
Approach her about the abuse in a sensitive way. Let your friend or family member know you care and are willing to listen.
Give positive reinforcement and emotional support.
Believe what she tells you. It will have taken a lot for her to talk to you and trust you.
Let Her Make Her Own Decisions
it is empowering to know that someone trusts your judgment and believes in your ability to find solutions to the problem. Trust her to make the right choices for herself. Tell her you respect her courage and determination.
Refer her – to CSADV for free, confidential services so that she can get additional information and support.
Children often have the following characteristics as a result of living in a violent and unpredictable environment. Many of these characteristics are similar to those of children who have been abused. In fact, many children who grow up in homes in which the mother is abused are abused themselves.
• Worthless and powerless
• Guilt, feel responsible for the problem
• Lonely, shy and fearful
• Suicidal or have homicidal thoughts toward their parents
• Fear, disgust or rage toward either parent
• The need to be “perfect” to keep everyone happy
• Embarrassment and humiliation
• Isolate themselves from other children
• Short attention spans
• Acting anxious and/or having nervous disorders
• Bullying other children or acting abusive or violently toward others
• High risk for alcohol and drug abuse
• Have a record of poor school attendance and difficulties in learning
• May say that they hate their fathers for beating their mothers OR side with their fathers in blaming their mothers
• Accepting and expecting violence in their relationship
• Using violence to express frustration, anger and stress
• Physical or sexual abuse
• Emotionally or physically neglected
• Injured, accidentally or intentionally, while intervening
• Bed-wetting reversals, headaches, or stomachaches
• Frequent illnesses
• Poor school attendance
The Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, CSADV, provides support, advocacy, and a safe environment to empower adults and children who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault . Through leadership and education, CSADV works collaboratively with the community to promote social change and to end violence.
The Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence is a private, non-profit agency that is dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault and/or domestic violence become empowered in their quest for dignity and self-respect.The purpose of CSADV’s program is to provide a central agency where victims can receive assistance, reassurance, support, and a sense of stability.