Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects individuals of all backgrounds and walks of life. Violence against a spouse or partner can take many forms including but not limited to physical abuse.
Understanding different types of domestic violence can help keep you safe if you experience these actions from a loved one.
Physical abuse is perhaps the most recognizable form of domestic violence. It involves the use of force or violence to cause bodily harm or injury. This can include hitting, slapping, punching, choking or any other act that results in physical injury.
Emotional and psychological abuse
Emotional abuse is less visible than physical violence but can be equally damaging. It encompasses behaviors intended to control, manipulate or demean the victim. Examples include constant criticism, humiliation, threats and isolation from friends and family.
Verbal abuse also falls into the category of psychological abuse. It involves the use of words to degrade or belittle the victim. Verbal abuse can include yelling, shouting, name-calling and using hurtful language to undermine the victim’s self-worth.
Financial abuse occurs when one partner exerts control over the other’s finances. They may withhold money, restrict access to financial resources or coerce the victim into making financial decisions against their will.
In a domestic context, sexual abuse involves any non-consensual sexual activity. Examples include forced sexual acts, coerced sexual behavior and sexual exploitation within an intimate relationship.
Stalking and harassment
Stalking and harassment as a form of domestic violence may involve:
- Giving the victim unwanted and persistent attention
- Tracking the victim’s movements
- Using technology to monitor the victim’s activities
With the rise of technology, digital harassment and stalking have become increasingly common. This category includes actions such as hacking into the victim’s social media accounts, spreading false information online or using technology to harass and intimidate.
If you or someone you know experiences domestic violence, you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 41% of women and 26% of men have experienced physical violence, sexual abuse, stalking or other harmful actions in an intimate relationship. Reach out to local domestic violence organizations, hotlines or shelters for guidance on how to safely address the situation.