What is domestic violence? What is domestic violence counseling? How do we approach this at Women Are Dreamers Too?
What is Domestic Violence?
**Understanding Domestic Violence**
Domestic violence involves a range of abusive behaviors used to gain power and control over an intimate partner. It encompasses physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological actions or threats that influence another person. This can manifest as behaviors that frighten, intimidate, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.
**Who is Affected**
Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within various relationships, including married couples, cohabitating partners, or those who are dating. It transcends socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
**Signs of Domestic Abuse**
Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse is crucial. The following questions can help identify abusive behavior:
- Embarrasses or makes fun of you in front of others.
- Puts down your achievements.
- Limits your decision-making ability.
- Uses intimidation or threats for compliance.
- Belittles your worth.
- Engages in physical harm or aggression.
- Controls your activities and whereabouts.
- Blames substance abuse for hurtful actions.
- Shifts responsibility for their emotions or actions onto you.
- Pressures you sexually.
- Makes you feel trapped in the relationship.
- Limits your interactions with friends and family.
- Feel scared of your partner's behavior.
- Make excuses for your partner's actions.
- Believe you can change by changing yourself.
- Avoid actions that cause conflict.
- Prioritize your partner's wishes over yours.
- Stay due to fear of your partner's reaction to a breakup.
If any of these behaviors are present in your relationship, seeking help is essential. Remember:
- No one deserves abuse. It's not your fault.
- Fear of threats to your visa is not a reason to endure abuse.
- Language barriers can be overcome to access help.
**The Power and Control Wheel**
Domestic abuse is a larger pattern involving more than just physical violence. The Power and Control Wheel illustrates the various tactics abusers use to maintain control over victims. These include emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse, as well as stalking.
- Constant criticism and belittling.
- Undermining self-worth.
- Isolating from family and friends.
- Threatening harm to self, partner, or children.
- Isolating from support systems.
- Destructive behaviors.
- Total control over finances.
- Withholding money.
- Preventing education or work.
- Harming or attempting to harm.
- Damaging property.
- Using physical force.
- Forcing non-consensual sexual acts.
- Insulting or demeaning sexually.
- Using coercion.
- Harassing, annoying, or terrorizing.
- Repeated unwanted communication.
- Escalating behavior.
**Support for Survivors**
For survivors of abuse:
- You're not alone. The abuse is not your fault.
- Reach out for help.
- Support is available in various languages.
**How to Help**
For concerned individuals:
- Listen and believe the survivor.
- Encourage them to seek support.
- Express concern and offer referrals.
- Consult your organization's resources.
**For Abusive Partners**
If you recognize abusive behavior:
- Seek assistance to end the abuse.
- Understand the consequences, including legal ones.