Domestic violence may be defined as intentional and perpetual abusive behavior that occurs in relationships from unequal positions of power. In other words, domestic violence occurs in relationships whereby one party tries to dominate or control the other party. The party that tries to dominate the other may do so through abusive behavior that includes physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial methods.
Domestic violence occurs over an extensive period of time. Victims of domestic violence experience a range of emotions including fear, worry, and stress. Certain behaviors may also develop such as denial of victimization, uncertainty of the future and reluctance to seek help. Generally, these emotions and behaviors cause the victim to consider the act of leaving the abuser a difficult and frightening task.
Who experiences domestic violence?
Domestic violence can impact people in heterosexual and/or homosexual relationships. Relationship status is not necessarily a determinant of domestic violence and can affect anyone in society, regardless of age, ethnic background, religion, sexuality and economic status. While victims of domestic violence are generally women and children, men may also fall victim to domestic violence.
Are men victims of domestic violence?
While there is limited research and statistics available on men as victims of domestic violence, male victimization is an acknowledged subject and is becoming increasingly recognised.
How common is domestic violence?
According to the Government of Canada website, of all reported violent crimes in 2016, more than one quarter (26%) resulted from domestic violence. This statistic demonstrates that domestic violence is fairly common.
What types of abusive behavior are common?
In domestic violence situations there are many common forms of abusive behavior an abuser may inflict onto the victim. Common forms of abusive behavior include physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.
Physical abuse: Physical abuse involves the abuser inflicting physical harm onto the victim. Examples of physical abuse include hitting, kicking, slapping, and withholding basic necessities such as sleep or meals.
Verbal abuse: Verbal abuse is a form of abuse that involves any abusive language used to belittle, embarrass or threaten the victim. Examples of verbal abuse include threating to inflict pain, threatening to kill the victim, name calling, yelling, screaming, and/or terrorizing.
Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is a form of abuse that exploits the victim’s vulnerabilities. Examples of emotional abuse may include insulting or criticizing the victim, public humiliations, threating or accusations, distorting the victim’s reality and/or using manipulation to disempower the victim.
Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is a form of abuse where sexual acts are generally used as an exploitative measure. Sexual abuse may also include verbal and physical behavior. Examples of sexual abuse include using force, contacting the victim in any non-consensual way, exploiting the victim because of intoxication, drugs, and/or withholding sex from the victim.
Financial abuse: Financial abuse is a form of abuse that strives to control the victim through a manipulation of economic resources. Examples of financial abuse can include control over family income, withholding financial information, or forcing the victim on an allowance.
What should you do if you are a victim of domestic violence?
What should you do if you know someone who is being abused?
It is important not to force the victim to seek out help if they are not comfortable or are at risk. Normally the victim will know when it is safe to seek help or leave the abuser. However, it is important that the victim is aware there are options to getting help.
Winnipeg Crisis Support