Domestic violence occurs when a person uses physical or emotional abuse as a means of gaining and maintaining control over another person in a relationship. These individuals will use any means available to them to hold power over their partners. Many people tend to think of domestic violence as being physical acts directed at another person with the intent of inflicting harm, but domestic violence can occur in a number of different ways, involving a number of different forms of abuse. The following are some examples of things that can all be classified as domestic violence:
- Intimidation (whether by physical or verbal force)
- Consistently putting the other person down by saying hurtful and spiteful things / making a partner feeling worthless
- Isolating the person / keeping a partner from seeing and/or contacting family and friends
- Withholding money
- Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, etc.)
- Stopping a partner from getting a job / manipulating a partner to leave his or her job
- Threatening physical harm, regardless of whether or not the threat is acted upon
- Sexual assault
- Any type of physical violence
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, sex, race, culture, or religion. It is something that can start with small gestures that one might not even recognize assigns of domestic violence before things take a drastic turn for the worse.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, with an estimated 1.3 million women being physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. While men can also fall victim to domestic violence, the NCADV reports that 85% of domestic violence victims are women. However, there have been conflicting reports that state that 40% of individuals who become the victims of severe, physical domestic violence are men. Another study showed that 63% of men had a deadly weapon used against them in a domestic dispute, as opposed to 15% of females.
Domestic violence statistics will inevitably vary because so many victims do not report the abuse inflicted upon them. For this reason, it is impossible to truly know the amount of people who are suffering in silence.
Signs That You May Be the Victim of Domestic Violence
If you believe that you may be the victim of ongoing domestic violence, but are unsure, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your partner yell at you or purposely humiliate you?
- Do you feel as though your partner is constantly criticizing you or putting you down?
- Do you feel embarrassed to have your loved ones around you when you are with your partner because of what he or she might do or say?
- Does your partner blatantly ignore you?
- Does your partner minimize or put down your accomplishments?
- Do you feel afraid to bring up certain topics because you are worried that it will cause your partner to become angry?
- Has your partner limited your access to things like money, the phone, the car, food, etc.?
- Does your partner blame you for his or her own negative behaviors?
- Have you come to believe that you deserve to be treated poorly?
- Does your partner force you to have sex even when you do not want to?
- Does your partner destroy things that belong to you?
- Does your partner consistently keep tabs on you throughout the day? (i.e. Is your partner constantly calling you or texting you to see where you are, what you are doing, etc.?)
- Does your partner threaten to hurt you, or even kill you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it is very possible that you are in an abusive relationship. Even if you answered yes to only one of the questions, it should be taken as a warning sign that things could potentially get worse. You do not deserve to have your partner treat you in any of these ways.
Signs That Your Loved One May Be the Victim of Domestic Violence
The thought of having a loved one who is the victim of domestic violence can be terrifying. You may have started noticing subtle changes in your loved one’s behavior or in the way that your loved one looks. You may be suspicious that something horrible is occurring behind closed doors, but you might not be sure how to find out without causing further problems for your loved one. The following are some warning signs that may indicate that someone in your life is the victim of domestic violence:
- Always seems fearful or anxious
- Goes along with whatever his or her partner says or does, always trying to please him or her
- Receives frequent phone calls or text messages from his or her partner when he or she is not present
- Has frequent injuries, which are brushed off by your loved one as being “accidents”
- Frequently fails to fulfill obligations (e.g. consistently misses work or social occasions without providing an explanation)
- Dresses in long-sleeved shirts and pants, even when it is hot outside, in an attempt to hide any bruises, scrapes, or scars
- Rarely leaves his or her home without his or her partner
- Has limited access to money and credit cards
- Demonstrates a very low sense of self-worth
If these are things that ring true to what you have been noticing in your loved one, it is imperative that you intervene and take steps towards helping him or her leave the relationship before things get worse.
Treatment for Domestic Violence
If you or a loved one has been the victim of domestic violence, it not shameful to seek help. The effects that domestic violence can have on a person can be traumatic and devastating. Many people who have suffered from domestic violence find it difficult to take the first step in leaving the relationship and, once they have done so, they may feel lost as they try to regain the control that was stolen from them by their partners.
Inpatient treatment programs have been known to be a beneficial way of approaching treatment for people who have suffered from domestic violence. Inpatient programs provide these individuals with an immediate sense of safety as they enter an environment where they will be constantly monitored and cared for. Inpatient treatment also allows clients to step away from the outside world, confront the trials they are facing in a safe and therapeutic atmosphere, and focus solely on healing. At Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital, we understand the sensitivity that surrounds the aftermath of leaving an abusive relationship, which is why we make it our goal to provide our clients with the most comprehensive care in the most empathetic environment possible. We strive to help each our clients find the confidence they need to walk away from our hospital, however they may have entered it, with a positive outlook for a happier and healthier future.