An Overview of Domestic Violence

Emotional Abuse

While some people automatically assume domestic violence relates to physical abuse, emotional control and manipulation are common as well. An abuser may try to maintain power over the other person in the relationship by manipulating his or her emotions. This can include attacking the victim's character or self-esteem, excessively criticizing every thought or action, and shaming or insulting the victim constantly.

Physical Abuse

Domestic violence may also include physical abuse. In this circumstance, the abuser may harm the victim through actions such as hitting, punching, biting, or shoving. In many cases, the level of abuse escalates the longer the relationship continues. Sometimes emotional abuse can lead to physical violence when the abuser seeks more power in the relationship. Victims can find help with legal protections initiated by divorce lawyers or law enforcement.

Sexual Abuse

There can also be a sexual component to domestic violence. Any sort of sexual contact that occurs without the victim's consent can be considered sexual abuse. This can include pressuring or forcing the victim to engage in sexual practices regardless of his or her feelings or desires. Sexual coercion through emotional manipulation can qualify as an abuse of power in a relationship. Each spouse must understand that the initiation of sexual activity must be mutual.

Finding Freedom from Domestic Violence

Domestic violence may appear in subtle ways. An abuser may try to control the victim's social life or career. Sometimes abusive relationships focus on making the victim financially dependent on the abuser. In many cases, domestic violence escalates as the abuser incorporates more controlling behaviors over time. Generally, victims are more successful at leaving an abusive relationship when they have resources and encouragement from a support system.