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What is Domestic Violence? Domestic Violence, also known as Domestic Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence, Relationship Violence and Spousal Abuse affects more than 1 out of every 3 women and 1 out of every 4 men. (The American Psychological Association)
Domestic abuse is a cycle of violence that increases in severity and frequency over time. The abuse can be physical, emotional, economic, sexual or social.
The Power and Control Wheel demonstrates the tactics used by abusive men in their attempts to gain control over their wives or girlfriends. These tactics are in stark contrast to the characteristics found in a healthy relationship, as shown on the Equality Wheel (off-site link to a blog containing the image).
Abusers tend to have issues with jealousy, insecurity and depression, which results in their quest for power and control within their intimate relationships. Chemical dependency on the part of the abuser plays a role in 50-70% of domestic violence cases.
Some common traits among abusers are:
- Refusal to accept responsibility for his behavior and/or blaming others (“If you didn’t make me so angry, I wouldn’t have said/done that.”) - Denial of abuse, addiction or other problems. (“I don’t need counseling. Counseling is for wackos.” “I’m not abusive. We just fight sometimes. All couples do that.”) - History of violence in family of origin.
The Victims The Abused tend to have problems with low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Most often, these feelings are the result of being in the abusive relationship, rather than the cause of it.
The effects of domestic violence include lowered self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness and shame. In some cases, women will suffer from PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, sleep disturbances, bouts of uncontrollable crying, holes in memory, apathy, emotional numbness, hyper-vigilance, feeling edgy and an inability to concentrate.
It is a good idea for the victim to get counseling as soon as possible, especially those suffering from PTSD. Check in your area for a counselor or therapist who has experience counseling domestic violence survivors. Many women’s shelters offer free individual and group counseling.
Victim Witness provides counseling-related financial assistance and legal advocacy to victims of domestic violence. Call your local police department or women’s shelter.
FCCS is directed by Melinda Haynes, MA, California LMFT 102308. Oklahoma LMFT 1153. North Carolina LMFT 2143.