According to the CDC, approximately 24 Americans are victims of domestic violence every minute. But what exactly is domestic violence and what can you do if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence? Learn to notice the signs and know how to respond if someone is in an abusive situation.
Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behavior in the home. It is typically when one partner abuses another, often by using intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault, or other abusive behaviors.
While many people associate domestic violence as physical abuse from a husband or boyfriend, domestic violence can take many forms and can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. The perpetrator could be a partner, former partner, or merely a date. Experts also categorize sibling abuse, elder abuse, and child abuse as domestic violence. Domestic violence may take one or more forms including physical, sexual, emotional/psychological (through abusive language, threats, control, or isolation), stalking, or economic (seizing the victim’s money, insurance, possessions, etc.).
Partners who are on the path to being abusive usually exhibit certain characteristics. If your partner uses force to solve problems, aggressively expects you to obey him or her, is jealous, misuses alcohol or drugs, or experiences drastic mood swings, make an appointment with your doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist or counselor. With a therapist’s help, you can find the best course of action to be sure you stay safe. However, if you are ever in physical danger, call 911 immediately.
If you see these signs in someone you know, he or she might be a victim of domestic violence.
If you suspect someone is a victim of domestic violence, offer him or her support, including the number for a domestic violence hotline. Don’t be afraid of offending someone by checking in on his or her safety; it is much better to show concern than to let the abuse continue. In cases of domestic violence, it can be dangerous and frightening to remove yourself from a relationship. Ask for help from a hotline, local resource center, or therapist, and stand up against domestic violence.
Be ready to call 911 immediately if someone is in physical danger or is injured. St. Luke’s Health emergency rooms are always open for your safety and wellbeing.
Close the Door on Intimate Partner Violence
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Recognizing Domestic Violence
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