Domestic abuse is a pattern of hurtful behavior in a relationship that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another person (usually an intimate partner). It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any hurtful behaviors that are used to control someone.
Abusers believe that they have an inherent right to power over the victim. Although abuse can happen between any two people, most domestic violence involves men abusing women. The tactics used by abusers are designed to steal, kill, and destroy the worth of their victims. No matter what form it takes, abuse is destructive. Physical abuse can kill the body. Emotional abuse can crush the soul.
There are two elements that are strong indicators that domestic abuse is occurring:
1. The perpetrator uses unkind tactics to control or dominate the victim.
2. The victim is fearful of the perpetrator.
Physical Abuse can involve: slapping, punching, choking, shoving, pinching, pushing, pulling, grabbing, poking, restraining, spanking, spitting, throwing things, locking in or out, forced kneeling, kicking, kicking furniture, etc.
Verbal Abuse can involve: insulting, accusing discounting, criticizing forgetting, shaming, profanity, diverting, trivializing, undermining, sarcasm, demeaning, countering, denial, ridiculing, withholding, blaming, judging, threatening, ordering
Emotional Abuse can involve: deceiving, lying, badgering, humiliation, silent treatment, financial control, destroying pets, driving recklessly, manipulation, intimidation, deprivation of sleep, threatening divorce, isolation from friends/family, threatening to harm self, destroying personal property, deliberately causing confusion
Sexual Abuse can involve: coercion, rape, sexting, unfaithfulness, unwanted kissing or touching, unwanted sexual acts, restricting access to birth control, forced to watch pornography, video taping, sexual insults, sexual threats, bartering system
Spiritual Abuse can involve: twisting the meaning of scripture, putting down the victim's faith, isolating from religious community support.
Financial Abuse can involve: withholding economic resources, stealing or exploiting resources, preventing spouse from working, withholding physical resources, excluding from financial decisions, controlling all finances, unequal freedom in spending, requiring partner to account for every cent spent