What is domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors in which one intimate partner uses physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, or emotional, sexual or economic abuse to control and change the behavior of the other partner." (1) It can occur in heterosexual or homosexual relationships and may be difficult to identify at first. Domestic violence takes many different forms so it is important to know the signs in order to determine if you or someone you know is at risk.
What are the signs of domestic violence?
Domestic violence often starts with emotional abuse or threats. Violent behavior does not necessarily have to involve physical violence. Some signs that you may be involved in a domestic violent relationship include:
- Being possessive and discouraging you from spending time with friends and family members
- Constantly accusing you of being unfaithful
- Blaming you for their violent behavior
- Controls your daily decisions (where you go, what you wear, what medications you take)
- Behavior intensifies when alcohol or drugs are involved
- Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
- Forces you to participate in sexual activity
What to do if I am involved in a domestic violence relationship?
If you find that you are involved in a domestic violent relationship it is important that yu first remove yourself and any children from the situation, call 911, and find a safe place to go if you are in immediate danger. Domestic Violence can be extremely damaging to both your physical and mental health. It is imperative that you speak with your physician and therapist about the abuse in order to ensure proper care is received. "Domestic violence can lead to common emotional traumas such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Abuse can trigger suicide attempts, psychotic episodes, homelessness, and slow recovery from mental illness." (2) The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute has several clinicians who specialize in rendering therapy to those suffering from posttraumatic stress caused by domestic violence. Having a team composed of a therapist, supportive friends and family, and a physician could be key to your recovery.
1. Womens Law (online). < www.WomensLaw.org >. June 17, 2014
2. APA (online). < www.psychiatry.org/domestic-violence >. June 17, 2014