Domestic violence is not a pretty picture, but it’s one that surfaces every day in the news, on social media and in our own backyards. It’s so common that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States – more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
So what exactly is domestic violence? Domestic Violence, or DV, involves a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that current or former intimate adults or adolescents use against their partners. It can take on the form of physical abuse (hitting, slapping, spitting on, pulling hair, etc.), psychological (causing fear, terror, threatening to take the children, making threats to harm pets as a way of controlling their partner, etc.) or emotional abuse (belittling, tearing down someone’s self esteem, etc.), sexual assault (bullying and making someone engage in sexual activities they’re against, rape, etc.), stalking, isolation and/or the controlling of the victim’s time, money, shelter, food, etc.
If you’re looking for broader language you could include Intimate-Partner Violence (IPV), intra-family violence, spouse battering, marital rape, child abuse, incest (child sexual abuse), sibling abuse, family elder abuse and abuse of parents by children. You could also include violence that involves people who date, those who are engaged, people related by marriage or common-law marriage, co-parents (individuals who have a child in common) and similar bonds (current or former).
Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence is not an anger management issue. It’s about someone making a choice to harm or control another (Duluth Model/power and control). The way it works:
“If most people are able to stop themselves from speeding at the sight of the highway patrol a few cars ahead, because they choose to avoid a ticket, at that point they are maintaining control.” -CJ’s step 4.
If that same person, the one who slows down at the sight of a patrol car, goes home and punches the wall and harms their loved, who’s responsible? Who’s making a choice? Who exerts power?
So about the picture…? It will never be pretty; not until more of us take steps to end it.
- Christina Milian’s disclosure opens several conversations including: Consider domestic violence safety planning
© CJ Spencer, 2016