Guide to Domestic Violence

If you are considering divorce while in an abusive relationship, you should seek help immediately for your own safety and protection. In an effort to combat domestic abuse throughout the United States, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. This signaled that the issue regarding domestic violence would take national priority. However, there are many myths and unsubstantiated beliefs surrounding domestic violence. Domestic violence can include either physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, or sexual violence towards a victim. All ethnicities, races, religions, and economic and social statuses are subject to domestic violence and abuse. No group is immune. If you suffered any type of domestic violence, seek immediate help from law enforcement or a local shelter or organization that is dedicated to providing assistance to victims of domestic abuse. There are many resources in your area for domestic violence victims.

What is Domestic Violence?

Many people misunderstand how broad the definition of domestic violence truly is. In fact, domestic violence can be any pattern of behavior that exhibits control over a victim’s life in any way. While many people equate domestic violence with physical abuse, domestic violence can take on many different forms, not just physical harm.

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Some of the types of emotional and psychological abuse related to domestic violence include continually stalking a victim, refusing to leave a place of employment or residence, or continually checking up on where the victim is as a form of control and domination. Some of the other types of emotional manipulation rising to the level of domestic violence include continuous threats to either the victim, children, animals or pets, friends or family members of the victim, or threatening actions or words that can intimidate or terrify the victim. Additionally, any type of abuse of trust is also a form of psychological abuse. Examples of this include lying about significant matters, withholding significant information needed, cheating with other partners, or exhibiting any kind of jealous outbursts or controlling actions.

Another way an abuser can emotionally and psychologically manipulate a victim is through economic control. For example, an abuser may refuse to pay bills, leaving a victim without water or electricity, refuse to provide income for the family, show up at the victim's place of employment in order to harass and terrorize, or simply refuse to attempt to seek any type of employment or work.

Another way that abusers tend to manipulate victims of domestic violence is through self-destructive behavior. Self-destructive behaviors such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, threats of suicide or even attempt suicide, and driving recklessly either with or without the victim inside of the car are all examples of how such behaviors can be used to manipulate, threaten, coerce, manipulate, or intimidate. All of these scenarios are examples of domestic violence.

Physical Domestic Violence

Physical domestic violence is much more commonly known as the example of abuse within a relationship. Physical abuse can range from slapping, hitting, punching, burning, or harming the victim in any way. With over 3 million domestic violence incidents reported each year in the United States, this means that a victim suffers abuse every nine seconds. Even more shocking is that one-fourth of all relationships admit to some form of domestic violence. If you are suffering from domestic abuse in any way, seek immediate help for your protection and safety.

Myths Surrounding Domestic Abuse

There are many myths surrounding domestic abuse. Here are some of the myths that surround domestic abuse and perpetuate the idea that it is not a significant and destructive force within our society today.

  • Domestic violence is a private matter.
  • Domestic violence victims must be to blame for their abuse, as they probably provoked their partner in some way.
  • Many victims of domestic violence exaggerate their claims, and their spouses or partners are not actually abusing them, they just have bad anger management skills.
  • Domestic violence would never happen in this neighborhood.
  • If the domestic violence was that bad, the victim would have already left.

While these myths persist, they are all absolutely untrue. If you are ready to leave an abusive situation, make sure you do so safely and with the help of either law enforcement or another agency equipped to assist you in the best possible way. If you are considering divorce, make sure that your safety is still the priority before attempting to file legal paperwork.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you are experiencing any kind of domestic violence situation, after taking action to ensure your own safety and health, you may consider initiating the divorce process. If you are considering filing for divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney in Monroe, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation.