Defining Domestic Violence
Also known as domestic abuse, domestic violence (DV) involves two people in a relationship where one attempts to assert their domination over the other in a forceful manner. The way this control is asserted doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of physical violence. Many domestic abuse cases also involve emotional leverage, where the dominant partner manipulates the other using fear, shame, or guilt to keep them under control.
While victims of DV are more prevalent with women, this type of abuse does not discriminate between gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, or economic background, and it can be seen everywhere in society. In such relationships, there exists a cycle of abuse where the dominant partner abuses the other, followed by period of forgiveness, and then loops towards another act of abuse when a triggering incident pushes the abuser to justify their actions.
Types of Domestic Violence
The driving reason behind many DV cases is to be able to exert control over another’s partner in a relationship. This can manifest in various forms.
Regardless of the type of DV, domestic abuse forms a tight-fisted ring of control between the abuser and their partner. There are many times that the domineering partner will downplay or will even deny their actions as a way to diffuse the seriousness of the situation. However, victims should learn how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship so they can either get support or safely end their relationship before the situation escalates further.
Recognizing the Signs of Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes in the world, so it can be quite difficult for outsiders to see if something like this is forming between two people in a relationship. If you notice any of these warning signs, then it’s important to take them seriously and talk to them about it with the abuse victim.
Telltale signs of physical abuse are perhaps the easiest to spot. Bruises and small injuries on a person may be dismissed at accidents at first, but it’s important to note their behavior when talking about these injuries. If they tend to deflect or outwardly dismiss the topic, then there might be an underlying reason why they are averse to talking about the subject. Other typical signs of physical abuse include frequently avoiding work, school, or social events, as well as wearing concealing clothing to hide any injuries or bruises on their body.
There are also several behavioral patterns to look out for if you suspect someone is a victim of DV. These people will always tend to place their partner as the center of their attention, constantly trying to please them and even feel anxious if they go against their partner’s wishes. The DV victim will also make it a point to check in with their partner constantly, and they will also get frequent phone calls as well regarding to their location and current activities.
Finally, there are also psychological warning signs that can manifest in DV victims. Domestic abuse can take a massive toll on a person’s self-esteem and confidence. They will also exhibit signs of depression and anxiety, especially when the topic of discussion is their partner. This kind of mindset can slowly erode a person’s mental health and can even lead to suicidal thoughts.
If you notice any of these signs, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak up about it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is none of your concern and it isn’t right to step in between a relationship. Expressing your concern to the victim is a good first step in letting them tell their story and possibly save their life.
Understanding the Cycle of Abuse
One of the most difficult things of DV is that it is part of a cycle of abuse that is very difficult to break, especially if no one is there to intervene. There have been various theories explaining this cycle, but it is typically centered on these four different periods in the abusive relationship:
Without outside intervention, it can be very difficult to escape from this cycle since the victim may be lead to believe that the relationship is still salvageable. Victims of DV are advised to talk to their partner during the reconciliatory period and see if they can get professional help for their relationship.
Helping Others Who Are Experiencing Domestic Violence
One of the best ways in helping victims of DV is by becoming part of a solid support group that can encourage them during their time of need. Because isolation is part of the abusive cycle, it is important to always be there for both people in the relationship and see how they can work towards breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.
You can also help the community in general become aware of the dangers of DV by participating in campaigns and advocacy groups against domestic abuse. These organizations make it a point to hold events to raise awareness of DV. They also print campaign materials or make promotional materials like custom wristbands and t-shirts to help spread this message. Alternatively, these groups also accept donations that fund their DV-related campaigns and programs.
By devoting either time or money to this particular cause, you can make a difference in changing the lives of others who are experiencing DV.
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