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Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is when one person in a relationship tries to dominate and gain control of another person in the relationship by using physical harm or threats of physical harm. The relationship may be a marriage or it could just be a dating relationship. Domestic violence is a serious problem that can result in sometimes fatal injury to the person who is the victim of the abuse, so it’s important that anyone who is in an abusive relationship to recognize their situation and reach out to get the help and support they need.

Who is at risk for domestic violence?

There are many myths about domestic violence such as thinking it only happens with jealous or alcoholic spouses.  In fact, domestic violence can affect anyone who is in a relationship and is more common that you might think.  Women aged 20-24 are the most at risk, with national data showing that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.  While women are the most frequent victims of domestic violence, men can be victims as well. Because this is often overlooked, many men in abusive relationships are denied the help they need. No matter what gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, race, or age, anyone can be subject to an abusive relationship. 

Why does domestic violence happen?

People who abuse their partner believe that they have the right to do so.  At some point in their life, they learned that aggression and threats are the way to make the other person do what they want them to do.  Above all, it’s important for any victim of domestic violence to know that they have not done anything wrong to deserve the abuse and to seek the help they need to get away from the situation safely.

Is verbal abuse part of domestic violence?

Domestic violence is physical abuse, but that doesn’t mean that verbal and emotional abuse can’t be just as threatening. All are forms of control and manipulation.  It’s important to remember that no form of abuse is ok, or deserved.

Learn More

Fact sheet on domestic violence (PDF)Learn the warning signs and how to help (PDF) Books on this topic(PDF) Books on this topic part 2

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