Domestic violence (DV) is not only physically aggressive behavior. It can be verbal, emotional, financial, sexual, or any behavior done with the intent to intimidate or control.
It can be obvious or subtle.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of gender, race, economic background, age, religion, or education.
Abusive Relationship Cycle
Abuse in relationships follows a common cycle :
Violence that's interspersed with apologies and promises to stop
Isolating the victim from any supports, such as family, friends, or work
Making the victim feel guilty for their feelings, behavior, or wanting the abuse to stop
Physical abuse looks like:
forcing you to do something
physical aggression done to intimidate
It doesn't have to cause a major injury to count as physical abuse.
Emotional abuse looks like:
neglecting emotional needs
causing drama between you and your loved ones or friends
Emotional abuse often goes undetected because it might look like just a bad relationship.
Verbal abuse looks like:
belittling your opinions or feelings
ignoring or giving the silent treatment
talking in a condescending voice
Verbal abuse may be disguised as "joking."
Financial abuse looks like:
giving you an allowance
forbidding you to work
stealing your identity
forbidding you from accessing bank accounts
making you account for every penny you spend
dragging out a divorce to make it more expensive for you
Financial abuse happens in 99% of all domestic violence cases.
Sexual abuse is any unwanted:
touching of your body
inserting into any body part
showing sexual pictures you didn't ask for
The high-risk, high-emotion state that often goes with sexual abuse can create a strong trauma bond to the primary aggressor and makes it difficult to leave the relationship.
Check Your Understanding
Your significant other seemed like the perfect match at first. They were attentive, good-natured, and didn't pressure you for sex.
About 2 weeks into your relationship, they start sending you links to porn sites. You tell them to stop and they accuse you of being a prude.
You feel ashamed, but think they must be right.
About 6 weeks into your relationship, they're sending you unsolicited pictures of themselves and you notice they're making "jokes" at your expense when you meet up with their friends.
When you try to talk to them about this, they blame you for being too sensitive. You feel confused but try not to make a big deal about it.
After all, they probably just had a bad day. Plus, if they didn't care about you, they wouldn't be taking you to all these great places!
About 8 weeks into your relationship, they're still sending pictures and making jokes about you.
They're also starting to comment that you've gained weight since you met and need to go on a diet.
They also tell you that their ex wants to get back together and is blowing up their phone...but that you shouldn't worry because you're beautiful even if you're getting fat.
You want to crawl into a hole but decide to start working out fanatically to lose weight.
Last night you celebrated your 3 month anniversary.
Your significant other got drunk, and you got into an argument because they said you're not spending enough time with them.
They yelled at you and shoved you, but there weren't any marks on your body.
You rationalize that they didn't mean to do it. They just had too much to drink. And the fact that they sent you flowers the next day proves they're really sorry.
Is this domestic violence or just a bad relationship?