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Understanding Domestic Violence

Updated on March 14, 2013
Photo: mtsofan@Flickr
Photo: mtsofan@Flickr

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects millions of people in one way or another. In fact, even if you are not the victim of domestic violence, you likely no someone that is. Therefore, whether you are the victim or the friend of someone being abused, it is important for you to know how to find help and break the cycle of abuse.

Defining Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is any type of abuse that takes place in a domestic household. This may be a household with or without children and it may include a married couple or a couple that is living together as boyfriend or girlfriend.

While domestic violence is most often associated with a man abusing a woman, it can also include the woman abusing the man. Although abuse against a child may be considered when discussing domestic violence, the true sense of the term is restricted to abuse between two grown partners rather than children.

Photo: lepa@Flickr
Photo: lepa@Flickr

Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, at least one in every three women around the world is abused in some way during her lifetime.

In the United States, approximately 31% of women report being either sexually or physically abused by their spouses or boyfriends at some time in their lives.

In addition, 30% of Americans report knowing a woman that has been abused at least once in the past year. Considering the fact that many of these abuses go unreported, these statistics are truly frightening.

Causes of Domestic Violence

The causes of domestic violence are quite varied, as every situation is unique. In some cases, the abusive partner was brought up in a household in which abuse was common. In fact, he or she may have been abused as a child or may have witnessed domestic violence while growing up. In this case, the abuser may perceive the abuse as being normal and may not see anything wrong with the behavior.

In other cases, other factors may be involved. For example, the abusive partner may also be addicted to drugs and, when drunk or otherwise intoxicated, may become abusive.

Stress can also cause a person to become abusive, particularly if that person does not have adequate coping skills. No matter the underlying cause, however, abuse is never acceptable or excusable.

Legal Consequences of Domestic Violence

A person that abuses his or her spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend can be put in prison for the abuse. Sometimes, imprisoning an abuser is difficult because the person being abused refuses to press charges.

In some jurisdictions, however, the decision to press charges may be taken from the victim's hands and the state may proceed with charges. In addition, depending upon the extent of the abuse and the situation surrounding the abuse, it is possible to have children living within the home temporarily removed.

Getting Help for Victims of Domestic Abuse

Thankfully, there are many programs available that will help victims of domestic abuse. In fact, some organizations will provide victims with a safe place to stay and will provide other forms of assistance.

To learn more about domestic violence organizations in your area, call 1-800-787-SAFE, which is the number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Of course, it is also important for abusers to seek counseling in order to put an end to their abusive behavior. As the victim of abuse, however, it is important to get help for yourself rather than worrying about helping the abuser put an end to his or her abusive ways.


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    • bingskee profile image


      7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      i know women who are victims but i also learned that unless they are willing, nobody could help them.


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