According to the U.S. Surgeon General, domestic violence is the first health concern in the country nowadays. Only understanding what domestic violence is, and realizing whether you are a victim of it or not, will you be able to take action and get out of such terrible vicious circle. Furthermore, victims are protected both by federal and state laws, and they are entitled to seek civil relief and build a criminal case against the offender.
Formerly, it was thought that domestic violence referred to wife abuse. However, now domestic violence victims can be anyone regardless of age, gender, and sexual orientation. Spouses, dating or intimate partners, family members, children, elderly and cohabitants can be considered victims of domestic violence if they are suffering any or several of the below-described situations. Usually, domestic violence is used to gain or maintain control over the other person, up to completely undermining their personality. Some forms of abuse that are comprised in the definition of domestic violence include:
- Physical Abuse
It includes hitting, slapping, shoving, pulling hair, cutting or any violent act inflicted on the suffering person. Denying medical attention and forcing someone to ingest drugs or alcohol are other forms of physical abuse too.
2. Sexual Abuse
It takes place when the abuser tries to coerce or forces the victim into any sexual contact without their consent. Marital rape, physical violence followed by forced sex, and sexually degrading the victim are included in sexual abuse.
- Emotional Abuse
Emotional abusers undermine the victim’s self-worth and self-esteem. This may be done by persistent criticism, calling names, interfering with the victim´s relationship with her/his kids.
An economic abuser seeks to control all financial resources, making him/her absolutely dependant, and even prohibiting the victim to attend school or go to work.
Psychological abuse involves threatening; trying to instill fear in the victim through intimidation, threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, the victim or the victim´s loved ones. Threatening to destroy the victim´s properties or any other means that could invoke fear are considered abuse too.
- Stalking and Cyber stalking
This includes spying, harassing, following, constant phone calling, suddenly appear at the victim´s workplace or home, leaving messages, sending gifts, going through the victim´s computer or cell phone, sending repeated emails or texts to distress the victim, etc.
Identifying domestic violence is very hard, people tend to overlook the first signs or episodes, and the issue keeps escalating sometimes to the point of no return.
If you are a victim of any of the mentioned signs of domestic violence or any other type of abusive behavior, getting the help of a domestic violence lawyer may be your only way out!