What is DV?

Domestic violence (DV) is a pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate relationship used by one partner to gain power and control over the other partner. Domestic violence is sometimes called intimate partner violence. 

The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. 

This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

Long Term Impact of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death.

The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

It is not always easy to determine in the early stages of a relationship if one person will become abusive. Domestic violence intensifies over time. Abusers may often seem wonderful and perfect initially, but gradually become more aggressive and controlling as the relationship continues.

Types of Intimate Partner Violence

The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which spotlights injury and violence prevention topics, defines four main types of intimate partner violence: 

  • Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force (e.g., shoving, choking, shaking, slapping, punching, burning, or use of a weapon, restraints, or one’s size and strength against another person) with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or physical harm.
  • Sexual violence can be divided into three categories: (1) the use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act unwillingly, whether or not the act is completed; (2) an attempted or completed sexual act involving a person who, because of illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure, is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, decline participation, or communicate unwillingness to engage in the act; and (3) abusive sexual contact.
  • Threats of physical or sexual violence communicate the intent to cause death, disability, injury, or physical harm through the use of words, gestures, or weapons.
  • Psychological/emotional violence traumatizes the victim by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics (e.g., humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information, isolating the victim from friends and family, denying access to money or other basic resources). In most cases, emotional violence has been preceded by acts or threats of physical or sexual violence.

Abuse takes many forms:

  • Emotional – Assaulting your self-esteem.
  • Verbal – Name-calling, threatening, or putting you down.
  • Psychological – Undermining your sense of reality and questioning your rationality or decision-making, causing you to feel you are “going crazy.”
  • Physical – Hurting your body, including kicking, punching, shoving, slapping, pushing, or restraining.
  • Sexual – Calling you vulgar names, criticizing your body, pressuring or coercing you to perform sexual acts you are uncomfortable with, rape.
  • Stalking – Constant calling or texting, using GPS devices to track your movements, persistent communications through mail or email that are unwanted.
  • Spiritual – Attacking your spiritual or religious beliefs. Compromising your ability to participate in your faith or socialize with your faith community.
  • Financial – Controlling and manipulating you by threatening your economic status and/or basic needs.
  • Sexual Identity – Threatening to “out” you to people who do not know your sexual orientation.
  • Immigration – Using your immigration status and fear of deportation to control you.
  • Reproductive – Sabotaging or preventing your use of birth control. Intentionally trying to impregnate you without your consent.
  • Destructive Acts – Actual or threatened assault of your property or pets to scare you.

Why is it hard to leave an abusive relationship?

Na Chen from Channel N interviewed SAVE former Executive Director, Dr. Yasi on domestic violence topic: “Why is it hard to leave an abusive relationship?”

“Often you don’t know what to say or how to live.. even can’t dream about better time. The image of the world is different and nothing makes sense. Often escape into the unknown isn’t possible.”

Are you experiencing abuse?

Is a friend experiencing abuse?

Do you have a friend who is abusive?