What is domestic violence?

Social IssuesRelationship

  • Author Chaplain Bre
  • Published January 20, 2024
  • Word count 732

Domestic abuse advocates define domestic violence (a.k.a., domestic violence, intimate partner violence) as a behavioral pattern that occurs in an intimate relationship (e.g., cohabitation, dating, marriage). It’s used to gain and maintain power and control over a partner. Anyone can become a victim of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter what their sexual orientation, gender, race, age, religion, education, or socioeconomic background is. For me, I identify as caucasian, nonbinary, and asexual. I was raised in an upper class family and yet my perpetrator abused me while I was in my early 20s and living with them. I share this to let you see that anyone can become a victim of intimate partner violence. This is the reason why I’ve become a domestic abuse victim advocate.

How is abuse defined by domestic violence advocates?

Domestic abuse victim advocates define this abuse as any form of behavior that one partner exhibits towards another. This means that there are several different types of domestic violence that advocates must be familiar with. These include:

The first one that domestic violence advocates are the most familiar with is physical abuse. This is abuse that occurs when a victim is physically harmed by their partner. This is one of the types of abuse that I somehow managed to be spared, but the other types of abuse are equally harmful.

One type of abuse that almost always coincides with any other type of abuse is financial abuse (a.k.a.,economic abuse). Unfortunately, it’s frequently overlooked. Domestic abuse victim advocates say that this can happen in any way as long as a victim is being forced to become financially dependent on their perpetrator. This means that they have complete control over any financial resources, don’t let a victim have access to any money, and may even go so far as to forbid this person to attend work or school. This was just the beginning of the abuse I suffered. I never had money and yet I was always the one who was blamed for it while my perpetrator sat on the couch and made me make money by having adult telephone conversations. Therefore, when I left him I didn’t have any money to take with me.

Having telephone conversations was only one of the ways in which I experienced sexual abuse. This is another type of domestic violence. It happens when a partner forces you to engage in something which you don’t consent to. Unfortunately, it’s something that happened frequently to me alongside emotional abuse (something we’ll get to in a moment). It’s something he frequently forced me to do while on cam to make him money.

As for emotional abuse, it occurs when a partner undermines their partner’s self-worth. There are different ways that it can occur (e.g., continual criticism; name-calling; belittling one's abilities). This is something that appeared normal to me when I first entered the relationship because I grew up witnessing this type of abuse occurring between my parents. Emotional abuse can also include preventing someone from seeing their friends and family, as well as damaging their relationship with their children - two more things that my domestic abuse perpetrator did to me.

The last, but definitely not least, of the various types of domestic violence is psychological abuse. It happens when a partner threatens you in some way. When this happens the person on the receiving end of the abuse becomes fearful because of the intimidation which can also include the destruction of property or the harming of pets. Even today I clearly remember the first time this occurred. It was because my perpetrator didn’t like how he made his cheeseburger so he got upset and started belittling me before he smashed some candle holders I cherished.

What do domestic violence advocates want victims to do?

It’s my desire as a domestic abuse victim advocate to help people understand that domestic violence isn’t something that anybody deserves. If you’re a victim, please know that it is NOT your fault. Domestic abuse victim advocates are available to listen and talk to so you can get away from your abuser. As a domestic violence advocate I’m here to help you. For more information about domestic violence and ways in which I can help you visit HealingFamilyTraumaPittsburgh.com

Chaplain Bre is a survivor of domestic violence who's now working as an advocate at HealingFamilyTraumaPittsburgh.com

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