What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation.
Is your relationship healthy?
Your upbringing (the way you were raised) can affect your relationships. Too often, adults and young people enter into relationships they take for granted and do not understand how to behave in them. We may also assume that the other person knows how to behave in relationships. Domestic violence in relationships show that these assumptions are wrong.
You may be experiencing domestic violence in your home with an intimate partner or as a young person witnessing it.Check to see whether the following 12 qualities exist in yours (no particular order):
- Mutual respect - Respect means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person's boundaries.
- Trust - Without trust, there is no way to have a healthy relationship. Choose to trust in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
- Honesty - If you have ever caught your friend, or dating partner, in a huge lie, you know that it takes time to rebuild your trust in him or her. Always be honest. It builds trust and strengthens the relationship.
- Compromise - You won't always get your way. Acknowledge different points of view and be willing to give and take. It's a bad sign when the relationship becomes a power struggle.
- Individuality - You shouldn't compromise who you are, and your identity should not be based on your boyfriend or girlfriend. Continue seeing your friends or doing the things that you love. Be supportive if your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to pursue new hobbies or make new friends.
- Good communication - Speak honestly and openly to avoid miscommunication. If you need to sort out your feelings first, your boyfriend or girlfriend should respect your wishes and wait until you are ready to talk.
- Anger control - We all get angry, but how we express it can affect our relationships with others. Anger can be handled in healthy ways such as taking a deep breath, counting to 10 or talking it out.
- Problem solving - You can learn to solve problems and identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts or by talking through the situation.
- Being fair - Everyone will argue at some point during the relationship, but those who are fair, stick to the subject and avoid insulting one another are more likely to come up with a possible solution. Take a short break if the discussion gets too heated.
- Understanding - Take a minute to understand what others might be feeling -- Put yourself in their shoes. It can improve your communication skills too.
- Self-confidence - Having confidence in yourself can help your relationships with others. It shows that you are calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions without forcing your opinions on others to win an argument.
- Being a role model - By modeling what respect means, you will inspire your boyfriend or girlfriend, your friends and your family to model respect too. Take every opportunity to give respect.
Why doesn't she just leave?
As Dr. Elizabeth Leonard, a clinical neuropsychologist, states in Sin by Silence, "Women are at 75% increased risk of being killed after she leaves, and they stay at an increased risk for over 2 years. Leaving is not the answer!"
Domestic violence is about power and control. When the abuser starts to lose their grip (such as when she leaves the relationship), then drastic methods (e.g. stalking, threatens suicide, destroys belongings, etc...) of control are taken.
Therefore, next time you hear someone ask ?why doesn?t she leave?,? remember that this is the mentality we need to help eliminate. That simple question puts the focus and blame on the victim. Maybe instead, we should be answering with, ?why does he continue to beat her?? and the many more factors involved....
Below are some of the factors involved in reasons that victims do not leave their abusers:
Fear: Many are scared of being hurt, abandoned, alone. Many victims of abuse have been told if they do leave they, or someone they love will be killed.
Misconceptions: Victims think they deserve the abuse. They think they can change the person. They think they are in love. They do not realize they are being abused.
Lack of services: Victims have nowhere to go. They don't know how to leave. They have no information about services in their community.
Low self-esteem: Most violent relationships begin with verbal abuse. They have been told they are ugly, fat, dumb, a whore, etc... and begin to believe the constant repetition of insults.
Lack of control: Victims feel trapped. Often the abuser will control the bank account or not allow the victim a cell phone to call family or friends.
Impact of domestic violence on children during adolescence
- Self-blame, guilt, shame, suicidal ideation
- Anger, rage, explosive feelings
- Ambivalent allegiance to onenparent
- Depression, hopelessness
- Lack of empathy for others
- Suspicion & distrust of adults
- Intrusive thoughts and images of violence
- Concentration and memory deficits
- Confusion of love with violence
- Belief that assault is normal
- Blame others for own behavior
- Declining school performance
- Running away from home
- Increased sexual activity
- Substance abuse
- Antisocial behavior, delinquency
- Explosive and violent interpersonal behavior
- Violence & abuse in dating relationships
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are my rights as a victim?
- What safety steps should I take even if I think the abuser does NOT have access to my email account?
- What should I do if I think the abuser can access my email account?