Learn about Domestic Violence

Every year, more than 10 million people in the US are physically abused by an intimate partner. Yet this staggering number doesn’t even include people experiencing other types of abuse, such as emotional or financial abuse. Domestic violence, in all its forms, is a prevalent issue that we must address. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at domestic violence and its effects.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, a pervasive and insidious social issue, goes far beyond the realm of physical harm. It’s a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, irrespective of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, or economic background.

Types of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses many types of abuse, including:

Physical abuse: This is the most recognizable form, involving any use of physical force — like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, or using weapons — with the intention of causing fear or injury.

Emotional abuse: Often overlooked, emotional abuse is about eroding a person’s sense of self-worth and independence. This can include constant criticism, intimidation, humiliation, and refusal to ever be pleased.

Sexual abuse: This involves any sexual behavior performed without consent.

Financial abuse: This type of abuse is often subtle, like controlling all money and resources, stealing from or defrauding a partner, or withholding access to funds.

Psychological abuse: This involves causing fear through intimidation; threatening physical harm to oneself, the victim, others, or pets; destruction of property; and isolating the victim from friends and family.

Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence leaves profound and lasting effects on its victims. It can lead to long-term psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), deeply impacting the mental health and well-being of survivors. The fear and stress stemming from such violence often result in a decreased ability to concentrate, work, and engage in social activities, leading to isolation and a sense of helplessness.

The impact of domestic violence on the family unit is far-reaching as well, particularly for children who witness domestic violence. It can disrupt their emotional development and educational progress, and increase the likelihood of them perpetuating or experiencing similar abuse in the future. In this way, domestic violence not only scars individuals, but also perpetuates a cycle of abuse that can span generations, making it a critical public health and social issue.

Learn how you can help by supporting domestic violence survivors, or donate today to support our work in ending domestic violence.

If you are afraid of your partner or spouse, you are not alone. Get help now. The DC Victim Hotline (DCVH) is a free and confidential 24-Hour phone, chat, and text-based resource and crisis line for all crime victims in the District of Columbia. Call the DC Victims Hotline at 1-844-443-5732.

The DCVH collaborates with numerous agencies to best serve visitors to the hotline and is an entry point into the District crisis service system for domestic violence shelters and sexual assault services.

My Sister’s Place (MSP) shelters, supports, and empowers survivors of domestic violence and their children while providing leadership and education to build a supportive community. We offer a full continuum of care, from emergency shelter through transitional-to-permanent housing. MSP also provides training, case consultation, and advocacy to engage communities to prevent violence and abuse. Donate today to help us end the cycle of domestic violence and empower survivors to build healthy lives and relationships.