Types of Abuse

Domestic Violence, domestic abuse, or relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner. Many types of abuse are included in the definition of domestic violence:

  • Physical abuse can include hitting, biting, slapping, battering, shoving, punching, pulling hair, burning, cutting, pinching, etc. (any type of violent behavior inflicted on the victim). Physical abuse also includes denying someone medical treatment and forcing drug/alcohol use on someone.

  • Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser coerces or attempts to coerce the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without the victim's consent. This often takes the form of marital rape, attacking sexual body parts, physical violence that is followed by forcing sex, sexually demeaning the victim, or even telling sexual jokes at the victim's expense.

  • Emotional abuse involves invalidating or deflating the victim's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. Emotional abuse often takes the form of constant criticism, name-calling, injuring the victim's relationship with his/her children, or interfering with the victim's abilities.

  • Economic abuse takes place when the abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant. Economic abusers often seek to maintain total control over financial resources, withhold the victim's access to funds, or prohibit the victim from going to school or work.

  • Psychological abuse involves the abuser invoking fear through intimidation; threatening to physically hurt himself/herself, the victim, children, the victim's family or friends, or the pets; destruction of property; injuring the pets; isolating the victim from loved ones, and prohibiting the victim from going to school or work.

  • Threats to hit, injure, or use a weapon are a form of psychological abuse.

  • Stalking can include following the victim, spying, watching, harassing, showing up at the victim's home or work, sending gifts, collecting information, making phone calls, leaving written messages, or appearing at a person's home or workplace. These acts individually are typically legal, but any of these behaviors done continuously results in a stalking crime.

  • Cyberstalking refers to online action or repeated emailing that inflicts substantial emotional distress in the recipient.

Teen dating violence is normally influenced by how teenagers view themselves and others. Because teenagers are typically inexperienced with relationships, have “romantic” views of love, and seek independence from parents, dating violence often remains hidden.

Statistics show that one in three adolescents in the U.S. has experienced some type of violence in a dating relationship. In order to build better relationships, young adults need to be educated on domestic and dating violence, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with respect.

Who is affected by domestic violence?

It is hard to know exactly how common domestic violence is because it's often not reported.

But we do know that anyone can be affected by it.  Domestic violence can happen to men or women of all different ages. It affects people with all levels of income and education.

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