WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

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Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions, or threats of actions, that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence/ intimate partner violence knows no boundaries. It occurs in every culture, country, and age group. It affects people from all socioeconomic, educational, and religious backgrounds. It is experienced across sexual identities and gender expressions, in same-sex, opposite-sex, and asexual relationships. Children are also affected, even if they are not abused or do not witness abuse directly. 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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DEFINITIONS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE / INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

  • DV / IPV is a learned behavior

  • DV / IPV is a pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate relationship where one partner tries to control and dominate the other

  • DV / IPV is fluid. It occurs over time, not as a single event or an isolated incident

  • DV / IPV is intentional. It happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another

  • The pattern of DV / IPV can include behaviors that appear both positive and negative

  • DV / IPV will escalate over time. Abuse can happen at a very slow pace

DYNAMICS OF POWER AND CONTROL

Abuser behaviors may be physically, emotionally, sexually and financially controlling with the victim left feeling scared, confused, dependent and insecure.

 
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Abusers actively work to change their victim’s behavior. When a victim doesn’t do what an abuser wants, the abuser will punish the victim. The victim will change their behavior to avoid punishment and accommodate the abuser.

BEHAVIORS OF AN ABUSER

  • Coercion & threats

  • Isolation

  • Intimidation & insults

  • Minimizing, denying, blaming

  • Possessiveness

  • Distortions & manipulation

  • Entitlement - using identity privilege

  • Technology

  • Using children and/or pets

  • Stalking

I got my cat Lion a little over 7 years ago when I was first getting sober. Since then, he has been an integral part of my life! When I was leaving my abusive boyfriend, I had nowhere to put him, and it eventually became his life or mine. Thanks to WSS, my living situation worked out miraculously and they were able to help me board Lion until I had a stable home. We just celebrated our 7th year together. This little guy has been through a lot, and I’m lucky to have him! My counselor at WSS has always been there for me, no matter what the issue or time between appointments has been. I love having a safe place to go.
— Maria Mason