Domestic violence or abuse is a behavioral pattern in an intimate or non-intimate relationship where the perpetrator uses violence or abuse to maintain a sense of power or control over the victim. The aim to acquire control or power is through physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Furthermore, it can affect people of any given age, sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, meaning that domestic violence does not have a specific target and anyone can be a victim of this kind of abuse.
Domestic violence or abuse can be seen in any dating relationship, among family members, or in any friendship. The incidents tend to occur in isolation where others cannot see what is happening. This is a matter of importance and should never be disregarded because in severe cases it could lead to potential death or severe injuries. If you or any close individual you know might be experiencing domestic violence do not hesitate to contact the provided contacts below.
Interestingly, the power and control wheel is a tool that can be used to be able to understand the overall pattern of abusive behavior, which sometimes can be confusing or makes us hesitate whether it is love or abuse. The kinds of behavioral patterns seen in abusers are different and can take place in the manner explained in the image below.
If you think or are not sure whether you might be experiencing abuse by a partner, family member, or friend, try to answer the following questions:
- Do you feel afraid of any family member, partner, or friend much of the time?
- Do you wonder whether it is you who is “crazy” rather than the other person?
- Do you avoid certain topics to not see your friend, partner, or family member explode in anger?
- Has that same person ever forced you to do something you would not do otherwise?
- Is that person possessive or extremely jealous?
- Does that person control the things you do or where you go and with whom?
- Has that person ever threatened you to harm a loved one, including a pet to make you do something they want?
Please if the answer to any of the questions above is “yes”, do not hesitate to contact a professional or a close friend who could support and aid you toward the next steps.
- It is still abuse if the person makes you feel confused and violence per se has yet not occurred. It could happen that you might be experiencing psychological abuse, but this could turn into physical abuse anytime. The problem with psychological abuse is that it seems frightening at the moment and after it happens it can make the victim feel confused and think it might not be abuse.
To conclude, domestic/partner violence or even an abusive friendship are matters of importance. It does not only involve severe physical harm, but also psychological long-term consequences for the victims. Even if the harm might seem mild it should not be disregarded because it could easily escalate into more severe matters. Raising awareness can provide victims an understanding of what violent behavior looks like and that they do not need to be alone in such cases, but rather seek help. By seeking help people can aid the victim into losing contact with the perpetrator and begin a new healthy life they deserve.
In case of domestic violance contact:
By Marta Padron Pena, Mental Health Intern
Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2023). Domestic Violence and Abuse. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm
United Nations. (n.d.). What Is Domestic Abuse? United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/what-is-domestic-abuse