Domestic Violence has been a huge issue in our society recently. The news often shows Hollywood celebrities and superstar athletes involved with domestic violence, but the truth is, this issue hits much closer to home. More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners each year.
When it comes to clarifying exactly what domestic violence is, there are quite a few interpretations:
- Physical abuse can include hitting, biting, slapping, battering, shoving, punching, pulling hair, burning, cutting, pinching, etc. (any type of violent behavior inflicted on the victim). Physical abuse also includes denying someone medical treatment and forcing drug/alcohol use on someone.
- Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser coerces or attempts to coerce the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without the victims consent. This often takes the form of marital rape, attacking sexual body parts, physical violence that is followed by forcing sex, sexually demeaning the victim, or even telling sexual jokes at the victim’s expense.
- Emotional abuse involves invalidating or deflating the victim’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. Emotional abuse often takes the form of constant criticism, name-calling, injuring the victim’s relationship with his/her children, or interfering with the victim’s abilities.
- Economic abuse takes place when the abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant. Economic abusers often seek to maintain total control over financial resources, withhold the victim’s access to funds, or prohibit the victim from going to school or work.
- Psychological abuse involves the abuser invoking fear through intimidation; threatening to physically hurt himself/herself, the victim, children, the victims family or friends, or the pets; destruction of property; injuring the pets; isolating the victim from loved ones; and prohibiting the victim from going to school or work.
- Threats to hit, injure, or use a weapon are a form of psychological abuse.
- Stalking can include following the victim, spying, watching, harassing, showing up at the victims home or work, sending gifts, collecting information, making phone calls, leaving written messages, or appearing at a person’s home or workplace. These acts individually are typically legal, but any of these behaviors done continuously results in stalking crime.
- Cyber-stalking refers to online action or repeated emailing that inflicts substantial emotional distress in the recipient.
Men and women can be victims of domestic violence, but so can any other family members, dating partners and cohabitants. On top of the abuse, it is easy for a victim of domestic violence to feel isolated. Having an experienced Family Law attorney on your side can get you to safety faster than you know. It is important to know that help is only a phone-call away. Because it is such an important issue, we are available 24/7 for victims of domestic violence. If you are a victim and need assistance, call us immediately.