October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion, used by one intimate partner against another to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship. It can happen to people who are married, living together, dating as well as children and elders.
Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered from domestic violence by an intimate partner. Batterers use a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner.
The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically. However, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other. This abuse affects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.
It is not always easy to determine, in the early stages of a relationship, if a person will become abusive. Abusers may often seem perfect initially, but gradually become more aggressive and controlling as the relationship progresses. The abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love. However, violence and control always intensifies over time, despite the apologies. All people deserve to feel safe with loved ones. For more information on domestic violence click on the links below.