Domestic violence is any form of abuse that happens within the home. Though most people associate it with spousal or intimate partner abuse, the fact is that anyone in the home or family that is abusive is exhibiting domestic violence
Furthermore, domestic violence is not just limited to physical violence. There are many forms of domestic violence, including emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
The Many Forms Of Domestic Violence
The following is a list of the most common forms of domestic violence. This is by no means a comprehensive list. If your partner or family member is using any action or behavior that threatens your safety or well-being, then they are exhibiting domestic violence.
1. Physical Violence
Physical abuse and violence are what people generally think about when they hear the term “domestic violence.” It occurs when a partner or family member physically harms or prevents an individual from fulfilling their physical needs. Some examples of physical domestic violence include:
- Throwing items
- Hurting the individual with a weapon
- Holding a person hostage
- Physically restraining the individual
- Depriving an individual of food, sleep, or water.
2. Financial Abuse
Financial abuse involves using money and finances to control or manipulate another person. Though many people don’t consider this form of abuse often, it is common and can be just as traumatic as any other form. Examples of financial abuse include:
- Controlling all finances in the household
- Not allowing others to access their funds
- Not allowing someone to make purchases, whether they are necessary or not
- Spending the family income on nonessential items for themselves, leaving no money for food, water, bills, etc.
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3. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse involves forcing sex onto another person or using it as manipulation or exploitation. Once again, it is important to understand that this not only happens to intimate partners but can be used against anyone in the household or family. Examples of sexual abuse include:
- Forcing or manipulating someone into having sex
- Pressuring a person to consent to sexual acts
- Exploiting someone who is unable to make an informed decision about sex or consent (asleep, unconscious, under the use of alcohol or drugs, etc.)
- Withholding sex as a form of threat or manipulation
- Having affairs and using that information to taunt intimate partners
- Making fun of someone’s body or sexuality
4. Emotional And Psychological Abuse
Emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse involves any comments or emotional control that exploit or harm one’s security, vulnerability, or character. The abuser will use words and emotional manipulation to threaten and control others’ activities and well-being. Some examples of this type of abuse include:
- Ignoring or neglecting others’ needs and boundaries
- Using their emotions to manipulate others’ actions (such as becoming threateningly angry to terrify someone or jealous to prevent a partner from going out with friends)
- Changing the subject of a conversation they have no interest in or dislike
5. Spiritual Abuse
Spiritual abuse prevents someone from practicing their faith or spiritual practices. The abuser can either be religious themselves or not. It can happen to anyone of any faith or spiritual practice. Examples of this type of abuse include:
- Preventing someone from practicing their faith or attending rituals, such as Sunday Mass
- Making fun of another’s spiritual beliefs
- Forcing someone to practice a religion they have no interest in
- Using scripture, certain beliefs, or other sacred texts as justification for other forms of abuse and control
6. Isolation Abuse
With this form of abuse, the abuser prevents others from interacting with friends and family. They may physically prevent them from leaving the home or use threats and emotional manipulation to keep them from contacting anyone. Examples of this form of abuse include:
- Physically preventing someone from leaving the home
- Threatening or controlling the person, so they do not contact anyone else
- Supervising phone calls and social media usage
- Taking away phones, tablets, laptops, and other items that can be used to connect with others
- Using emotional manipulation, such as jealousy, to make the person feel guilty about interacting with others
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How To Get Help
Domestic violence can be terrifying to experience. But you don’t have to stay in the situation. Help and resources are available.
One way to find help is by discussing the situation with someone you trust. Talk with a friend, family member, or neighbor for support or develop a strategy to get you out of the situation.
You can also discuss the situation with a professional to get help. This can take the form of a therapist, doctor, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).
If you cannot contact someone for help, then you may need to find a way to leave the situation on your own. Come up with a plan to escape and know what resources can help you during this process. For example, you may want to consider going to a domestic violence shelter for safety after leaving.
Domestic violence takes many forms and is always traumatic to the people involved. Please keep in mind that this article is not comprehensive and that domestic violence can take many forms that are not mentioned here. If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that you do not deserve to be abused. You deserve help and to live in a home that is safe. Please use the resources mentioned to find help and safety.