About domestic violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors in a dating or domestic relationship that is physically, sexually, verbally and/or emotionally abusive. Usually this is not just a one-time incident, but a pattern of abusive incidents over time that causes harm and/or fear. As the pattern continues, the abuser gains control and power over the victim.

Domestic violence takes many forms. It ranges from rape and murder, to punching, slapping, pushing and grabbing; from threats of violence, verbal attacks and other forms of intimidation, to extreme jealousy, possessiveness and controlling behavior.

Domestic violence happens in all types of intimate and family relationships. Abuse can come from a boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent, a husband or wife, a sister or brother, someone the victim is living with or other family members.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It affects people of all races, religions and cultures, regardless of how much money they have or what neighborhood they live in. Victims can be male or female, and domestic violence happens in both opposite sex and same-sex relationships.

Early on in a relationship, the victim may not recognize that certain behaviors, like extreme jealousy and possessiveness, can be warning signs of abuse. As a result, the victim can often believe that the first violence is an isolated incident. After the violence, the abuser’s apologies and promises that it will never happen again often convince the victim to stay and “work it out.” Later, fear, isolation and confusion caused by the continued cycle of violence can keep a victim trapped, afraid to tell anyone what is happening or to reach out for help.

Domestic violence is one of the most critical public health issues facing women and children today, and its impact is felt by every member of our society. Domestic violence is also having a devastating impact on our youth community. The cycle of violence – not just within a single relationship, but also from one relationship to the next, and from one generation to the next – is harming our society and our children. It is a problem that requires a total community response.

Click here to see statistics about domestic violence.

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