What Is Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one individual intended to assert power and control over another individual in an intimate relationship (i.e. spouses, ex-spouses, people living together, or those who have a child in common).

Domestic violence is the most common form of violence and the most underreported crime.

A wide variety of abusive physical, verbal, and sexual behaviors can be classified as domestic violence. The abusive behaviors often increase in frequency and intensity over time.

The abusive behaviors of domestic violence may include but are not limited to:

  • Verbal assaults
  • Intimidation
  • Abuse of pets
  • Threats
  • Physical Assaults
  • Destruction of Property

Maintained by societal and cultural attitudes, institutions, and laws which inconsistently name these abusive behaviors as wrong, domestic violence does not discriminate.

Both men and women, regardless of race, in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships can be the abuser and the abused.

Why would someone stay in an abusive relationship?

Deciding to leave an abusive relationship is not easy.

An individual involved in a violent relationship may be tied to his or her partner financially and emotionally. The individual may also face religious, cultural, or family pressure to stay and make the relationship work.

Victims of domestic violence can often be forced into isolation.

Abusers may forbid their victims from making phone calls, reading the newspaper, or even leaving the house.

It is important to make victims of domestic violence aware of emergency shelters across the country, similar to Lisa’s House.

How can I help a friend or family member in an abusive relationship?

Let your friend or family member know you care. But remember situational decisions are his or hers to make.

You can support your loved one by offering help, whether that be through transportation, childcare, financial assistance, or listening.

Be willing to get involved.

Domestic violence is a crime. It could result in injury and carries serious repercussions for your friend, family, children, and entire community. Take a stand against domestic violence and get involved. One way to help is to volunteer for Project Horizon.

What if I am in an abusive relationship?

If you live in the Rockbridge Area, Project Horizon can help. Look at our Survivors & Victims Support page for more information. If it is an emergency, call our 24 Hour Crisis Hotline at +1 (540) 463-2594 immediately.

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