Many women don’t even realise they are being abused by their partners or family members until much later. Gaining control of an abusive relationship can be much harder, but it may be helpful to know that there is support available.
Domestic Violence Definition
Domestic violence is defined as any abuse that may be inflicted upon a family member by another family member. It has now also involved abuse by ex’s as well. It is most common between married couples, though domestic violence is also carried out against children, the elderly, parents or other people living in the same house or compound.
Types Of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is difficult to recognize because of the many subtle forms it can take. It is carried out in an effort to gain control over the other person. The different types of domestic violence include:
- Sexual violence: This can include all unwanted sexual remarks and contact. Exposure to inappropriate sexual content is also considered as sexual assault. Non-consensual sexual activity between couples, whether married or unmarried, living together or separately, also constitutes sexual assault. It is normally defined as marital rape.
- Physical Violence: Beating, hitting, battery, choking, female genital mutilation, restricting food and water, restricting movement and growth and any other form of abuse that may affect a person physically constitutes as physical violence.
- Verbal Violence: This is one of the most overlooked forms of domestic violence. Many people do not consider verbal abuse such as swearing, taunting, sarcastic and degrading comments, derogatory comments, yelling, name-calling, blaming and guilt-tripping as verbal abuse because it is so deeply entrenched in our societies. However, it is a non-visible type of domestic violence.
- Emotional Violence: Emotional violence is very subtle and hard to detect. Many people will dismiss it by thinking they are over-reacting or being too emotional. However, if you consistently find that you are emotionally stressed when you are around a person or the thought of them creates panic in your mind, you may be suffering from emotional violence. Some examples include gaslighting, refusing to participate in a relationship, feeling superior, extreme jealousy or possessiveness, withholding attention and affection, etc.
- Religious Abuse: This is one of the most difficult types of abuses to fight against. Religious abusers are smart, manipulative individuals who are very adept at presenting religious arguments in such a way so as to justify certain acts or actions. Abusers tend to make their victims feel guilty, ashamed and humiliated for religious reasons to fulfil their own selfish desires.
- Economic Abuse: Economic abuse is one of the most effective ways that abusers keep their victims in control. Abusers may deny the victim economic freedom by restricting their means of livelihood, withholding access to bank accounts, controlling household spending, denying finances for personal needs, making financial decisions without consulting their partner, running up a person’s credit card etc. Economic abuse tends to continue even after a relationship has ended, for example as a result of a bad divorce and expensive lawsuits.
- Reproductive Abuse: Reproductive abuse, also called reproductive coercion, is a means of taking away an individual’s autonomy regarding reproductive decisions. These include controlling the outcome of pregnancy, terminating the pregnancy without the woman’s consent, denying her the right to conceive, denying birth control and forcing pregnancies.
All forms of domestic violence have one end in mind – to control and manipulate the victim and make them subservient to the abuser. In some extreme cases, domestic violence has resulted in death or permanent physical and mental scarring for the victim.
Domestic Violence Statistics
The United Nations Women Development program (UNWomen), and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) provide shocking statistics to the extent of the problem. Given the global nature of this issue, it has been declared an epidemic by the UN. Some of these stats are given below:
35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced sexual and/or physical violence by their partners or family members.
- More than half of the women who were killed in 2017 globally were a victim of an intimate partner or family member. These numbers mean that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day.
- According to the NCADV, almost 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. This adds up to 10 million men and women abused every year.
- Nationwide, helplines receive more than 20,000 calls per day on average.
- in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.
These statistics account for the reported cases only. Experts believe the numbers to be much higher since many victims do not come forward to seek help or report their abusers.
What Is Misdemeanour Domestic Violence?
A misdemeanour is a criminal offence that is lesser in its seriousness as compared to a felony. It can result in up to a year in jail, fines, probation, community service etc.
Misdemeanour domestic violence can differ from state to state. Prosecutors look at a number of factors before charging the accused of either a misdemeanour or felony. Domestic violence under the law include threatening or intimidating, telephone to harass, custodial interference, kidnapping etc.
What Is The Sentence For Misdemeanour Domestic Violence?
Given the prevalence of domestic violence as a crime, the defendant may be charged as a felony or misdemeanour, based on his or her history. Even if charged as a misdemeanour, the punishment can be very harsh. Punishments can range from a minimum fine of $500 to up to 5 years in jail with a fine of $10,000.
Domestic Violence Hotline
Some states have established their own hotlines for victims of domestic abuse. Additionally, national helplines are also available for victims to seek help. Some of these are listed below:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline:
(206) 518-9361 (Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers)
- National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service:
1800 737 732
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline:
0808 2000 247
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
If you find yourself in immediate and certain danger, contact 911.
Domestic Violence Quotes
If you or anyone you know has been suffering from domestic abuse, they can be given encouragement with these quotes.
- “Abusers – they’ll manipulate and they’ll lie to you. And when you no longer give them that power, they’ll try to manipulate your family or the people close to you instead.“ ― LaTasha “Tacha B.” Braxton.
- “Never forget that walking away from something unhealthy is brave even if you stumble a little on your way out the door.” ― Unknown.
- “When it comes to abuse, you believe there’s no way out. There is always help. There is always a way out.” ― Rev. Donna Mulvey.
- “Don’t judge yourself by what others did to you.” — Cody Kennedy
- “You survived the abuse, you’re going to survive the recovery.” — Mariska Hargitay
Remember, abuse is harmful, whether it is visible or not, and whether it is big or small. Getting help can save you and your kids.