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About Domestic Violence
What Is It?
Domestic violence (DV), also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), refers to a range of controlling and abusive behaviors committed by one's partner, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or significant other. The abuse may include physical, emotional, or sexual violence as well as attempts to limit the victim's choices around financial resources and cut the victim off from work, family, and other connections. The abuser may threaten to harm the victim or victim's loved ones, or hurt him/herself in order to make the victim stay in the relationship.
Does your partner...
- Hit, slap, kick, shove, choke, or burn you? Does he/she use their bare hands, objects, or weapons to physically hurt you?
- Force you to take part in unwanted sexual activity?
- Attempt to frighten or intimidate you?
- Call you names, put you down, humiliate you, or criticize you all the time?
- Try to manipulate or control you, act overly jealous or possessive, or tell you what to do and when?
- Tell you that you are crazy, blame you for the abuse, or tell you it never happened?
- Make threats to harm your children, family, or pets? Make threats to interfere with your immigration or other legal procedures, or reveal your personal information to others?
- Damage or threaten to damage your property?
- Deny you access to food, shelter, money, health care, or other basic needs?
Unfortunately, domestic violence is all too common. But no matter who it happens to, nobody deserves to be abused.
- About 25% of women experience abuse from an intimate partner during their lifetime 1,2
- About 8% of men experience abuse from an intimate partner during their lifetime; this includes physical abuse, rape, and stalking 1
- More than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner3
- 75% of homicide victims and 85% of women who had experienced severe but nonfatal violence had left or tried to leave in the past year4
- About 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner,5 and 1 in every 10 high school students nationwide reports being physically abused by their dating partner6 (For more information or to find help for a victim of teen dating violence: http://www.janedoe.org/find_help/for_teens)
- The elderly are also at risk for abuse from a partner or caregiver. While estimates vary, it may be as many as 10% or more of elderly adults who experience some form of abuse or neglect.7 Elderly victims may experience not only physical, psychological, and sexual abuse but also neglect (like a caregiver or partner not giving them needed medication, treatment, or food) or financial abuse (such as stealing their money).7 (For more information or to find help for a victim of elder abuse: http://www.janedoe.org/find_help/for_elders/ )
- More than 90% of individuals (male and female) with developmental disabilities will be physically or sexually abused during their lifetime, according to research summarized by the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission.8 (For more information or to find help for a disabled individual who is being abused: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=dppchomepage&L=1&L0=Home&sid=Idppc and http://www.janedoe.org/find_help/for_people_with_disabilities)
- About 1 in 4 LGBT-identified people( lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) have been abused by a partner.9 (For more information or to find help for a victim of LGBT partner abuse: http://www.janedoe.org/find_help/for_lgbtqqi)
Domestic Violence and Health
Is your relationship affecting your health? Domestic violence has many negative effects on a victim's health. Besides physical and mental damage from the abuse itself, survivors often have long-term health problems related to the violence such as:10, 11, 12
- Chronic pain
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Ulcers and other stomach issues
- Heart trouble
- Miscarriage and other serious problems if a woman is abused during pregnancy
- Psychological or emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Effects on Children
Many people who abuse their partner also abuse their children. Children who see domestic violence in the home, even if they are not being abused, are still affected in a negative way. For these reasons, it is important to provide choices and resources to the adult victims of domestic violence and their children.10, 12, 13, 14, 15
Some of the long-term health problems for children who witness abuse include:
- Anxiety, depression, anti-social behavior, and aggression
- Nightmares and trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating and doing well in school
- Suicide attempts
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Stomach problems, asthma, and headaches
- Abuse of a pregnant woman can also result in serious harm to her fetus, including death