October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a ribbon of the color purple. Domestic violence is something many of us know about in general terms, but many of us wouldn’t recognize domestic violence that easily from the outside or even know what constitutes domestic violence. What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is the use behavior or physicality to obtain power and control of someone that is normally in a relationship or the family member of a perpetrator of. It can be physical such as slapping, punching, kicking, choking, grabbing, and holding. Domestic violence can also be sexual, emotional, intimidation, control, isolation, verbal abuse, and economic abuse. 

Here’s 9 examples of what might constitute as domestic violence. 

Sexual violence

It is normally obvious, but it might not be to the victim. If you don’t want to be intimate, but you are threatened by your partner to engage in sexual acts, that is a form of abuse.

Emotional abuse

Gaslighting is when a partner makes you doubt your sanity, memory, and perception of events. For instance, when arguing about something your partner did, they will continue to say that never happened or maybe they even turn the entire thing around on you making you feel as though you were to blame. Emotional abuse can also include threats and ultimatums.

Intimidation

It is exact how it sounds. Intimidation can come in many forms physical intimidation including blowing up, threatening violence, and committing acts of violence that don’t involve you but the perpetrator says “you’re next.” Intimidation can also be threatening to leave you with nothing, destroying property, and displaying weapons.

Control

It can be anything from physical control to financial control to even controlling where you go, when you go there, and who you go with. Control looks a lot like someone snooping through their partners phones, having to tag along with them on everything they do, and looking over the shoulders of their partners to make sure they “stay in line.” Some abusers will even go as far as to have people follow you or people report back to them on their partner’s behavior.

Isolation

It is fairly common and normally easy to spot. This is when the abusive partner doesn’t want to share that person with anyone else, including families. Sometimes isolation doesn’t even have to be never seeing other people, it can even be when you’re around other people, but your partner doesn’t let you talk to them or has to constantly hover and not allow you to interact with anyone else. Normally, in these situations, friendships and even relationships with family members will slow deteriorate.

Verbal abuse

Name-calling and hurling insults in private at the beginning and normally out of nowhere. Sometimes, verbal abuse happens in public with very loud disagreements or even quiet disagreements in public with one person visibly angry as the other cowers in what looks to be fear. Verbal abuse can also be putting down their partner’s interests, friends, and family members.

Economic abuse

The withholding of money for things like rent, groceries, gas, and child support are forms of abuse that many people don’t think are abuse. It is especially abuse when they want something in return for the money they give you or feel as though withholding that financial support is “punishment” for “something you did.”

Reproductive abuse

Refusing to use birth control of any kind, removing birth control during an act of intimacy, monitoring menstrual cycles, forcing pregnancy, but not supporting the child are all possible forms of reproductive abuse. 

Digital abuse

Take notice of someone’s behavior on the internet as well. Digital abuse is becoming a thing and it’s when someone is constantly keeping tabs on you, tagging you in things that could be seen as rude or offensive, insists on having your passwords, constantly texting you to make sure you never forget they are around, sending threatening messages either by phone or apps.

Domestic violence is everywhere and happens to many people in many different ways.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the domestic violence hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or visit their website.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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