Identifying The Different Types Of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Domestic violence affects men and women, of all ages, of all ethnicities and backgrounds, and of all socioeconomic statuses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as high as 41% of women and 26% of men have been the victim of sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking from an intimate partner at some point in their life. As many as 61 million women and 53 million men have suffered psychological aggression by an intimate partner. There are also several different types of domestic violence to which an individual may be subjected. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Children’s Bureau reported that 3,476,000 children under the age of 18, were the subject of an abuse or neglect case where Child Protective Services became involved. If you are living in an unstable home environment and would like to learn more about your options, consider calling a Georgia family law attorney at The Millard Law Firm for assistance at (678) 319-9500.
Defining Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of behavior that exists in a relationship between intimate partners or other members of a household to achieve the goal of either gaining control or holding power. Intimate partner violence, which often overlaps with domestic abuse, happens when aggression takes place in a romantic relationship. The CDC’s definition of an intimate partner encompasses both current and former partners who are or were either in a marital or dating relationship.
Child abuse and elder abuse are also sadly common forms of domestic abuse. Regardless of the perpetrator’s relation to their victim, domestic abuse can lead to severe health issues and psychological trauma. The isolating effects of intimidation and sometimes physical injuries abuse victims suffer also tends to negatively impact their economic status.
Forms of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse is often thought of as being physical, and while physical violence is certainly one type of domestic abuse, that is not the only form of abuse that is deserving of legal remedy. There are several types of domestic violence, including the following forms:
Physical abuse is one of the most commonly reported types of domestic abuse in the United States and abroad. Physical domestic abuse happens when one uses physical force to hurt another member of the household to which they belong. When the physical abuse is perpetrated on someone with whom the antagonist has or has had a romantic relationship, it is categorized as intimate partner violence under CDC guidelines. Among the many recognized forms of physical abuse are all of the following:
- Hitting or slapping
- Restricting food and other necessities of life to cause harm.
- Not administering aid and assistance to an injured individual that needs treatment.
- Refusing to provide necessary medications.
- Restraining another party.
- Confining another party to a small space with little to no opportunity for personal freedom.
Sexual abuse can happen in any form of relationship, but is especially common between intimate partners, with or without physical violence. Essentially, when sexual contact or harassment from one party is forced on another unwilling or unaccepting party, this can be considered sexual abuse. Regardless of relationship status, such as whether the victim and perpetrator are in an otherwise consensual romantic or sexual relationship or not, sexual abuse is a serious problem in the United States and around the globe. On an annual basis, it is estimated that over 1.5 million women in the U.S. will be raped by their intimate partners.
As a non-physical form of abuse, emotional abuse can cause significant psychological trauma to a victim. One study found that 41% of women and 43% of men indicated that they had suffered aggressive control tactics by a partner. Emotional abuse can come by way of:
- Trying to embarrass a partner
- Threatening to use physical force against a partner
- Berating or belittling a partner and trying to ruin their self-confidence
- Trying to confuse a partner by exaggerating or misrepresenting reality
- Attempting to make a partner feel sorry for the abuser by threatening self-harm
- Ignoring the needs and wants of a partner
- Constantly disrespecting a partner’s autonomy
- Using coercion against a partner
When money or resources are used to wield power over a partner or other member of a household, this is another control tactic that can oppress one party in a relationship. This can happen by way of:
- Restricting a victim’s access to money.
- Limiting their ability to earn their own money.
- Spending excessive amounts of money on impractical expenses that deplete family savings and funds.
Stalking can happen to men and women, but women tend to report higher rates of stalking than men. In fact, up to 80% of reported stalking cases are reported by women. Forms of stalking may include:
- Watching from afar.
- Leaving unwanted messages.
- Breaking into one’s automobile or residence.
- Constantly checking up on a victim and following them.
When a victim is held back from relationships with others and isolated from friends, family, and their community, this can cause great distress. In some situations, a victim of physical violence may self-isolate and keep their distance from loved ones so that no one notices their scars or bruising.
What Victims of Abuse Can Do
The first thing that victims of abuse can do is recognize that abuse is happening. This sounds easy but often, the complex emotions a victim may feel can be enthralling, especially as abuse victims may experience internal conflict. As a result, acknowledging misconduct can be a difficult thing to do. Added to this is that once abuse is identified and accepted, gaining the confidence to do something about it can be yet another hurdle to overcome.
The family law attorneys at The Millard Law Firm understand the many challenges that abuse victims face. Some of these tips may be helpful when a victim decides to leave their abusive relationship:
- Make a plan for when and how you want to leave. Connect with loved ones, if possible, who will be willing to help you get away from your abuser.
- Physical abuse should be documented with pictures, if possible.
- Connecting with local and regional help centers or calling helplines focused on assisting victims of abuse to escape and restart their lives can be useful resources of support and guidance.
- In an emergency and when danger is imminent, it may be necessary to get help rapidly. Calling 9-1-1 is the right thing to do in this situation.
Speak to a Georgia Family Law Attorney Today
Abuse should never happen, but family law attorneys know it is an all-too-common occurrence. Domestic violence is unacceptable and reprehensible no matter how it is dished out. If domestic violence is causing instability in your home, and you have concerns for your safety, it is likely time for a change in circumstances. Understanding the many types of domestic violence that exist and the legal frameworks for seeking remedy can help victims to leave a difficult situation. For assistance with a family law matter in Georgia, consider calling the experienced attorneys at The Millard Law Firm at (678) 319-9500 to schedule a free consultation to review your situation.