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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence happens when one person believes he is entitled to maintain coercive control over his partner.

Domestic violence may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation, and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation, and power.

Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Physical battering: physical attacks or aggressive behavior (range from bruising to murder)
  • Sexual abuse: forced sexual intercourse, unwanted sexual activity
  • Psychological battering: constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the victim from friends and family, deprivation of physical and economic resources, and destruction of personal property.

Myth: Domestic violence is usually a one-time event, an isolated incident.

Fact: Battering is an ongoing pattern of behavior. It may get worse and more frequent over a period of time. Domestic violence escalates!

It often begins with:

threats, name-calling, violence in her presence (such as punching a fist through a wall), or damage to objects or pets.

It may escalate to:

restraining, pushing, slapping, pinching, punching, kicking, biting or sexual assault.

Finally, it may become life-threatening and include: choking, breaking bones or the use of weapons.